Abhijit Roy is a co-founder and CEO of AAPNA Infotech. He is a passionate technology entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in providing solutions to enterprise customers and startups.
The Covid-19 pandemic has tremendous and swift effects on workplace culture. While we don’t know the complete impact yet, it is for sure that the novel coronavirus is going to change our lives in ways we never thought was possible.
The way businesses operate, the way we travel and the way we work, are some of the things that are going to change dramatically in the post covid-19 world. The entire business world has shaken due to the sudden downfall in the economy which is the result of the lockdown. All around the globe, individuals have been transferred and promoted; all of this happened while being on video calls and emails.
Covid-19 has swept the workplace like a hurricane, scattering employees in every direction, exposing many to new risks and redefining what each one needs to do on their jobs safely, efficiently, and effectively. During this pandemic, client needs and expectations have also changed drastically. There has been a shift toward digitisation, which is obviously the need of the hour and fast emerging as a new normal.
Coming back to the actual and realistic scenario of the industry. I must say in the post Covid-19 we are now entering a new world where offices may take place in your home.
Many companies and industries in technology or software development have moved towards a hybrid work model and allowing employees to work remotely most of the time.
Teams can decide when they would like to come into the office for meetings that are going to give them benefit from physical presence – sprint planning, retrospectives, brainstorms etc.
Work cultures will now redefine themselves to focus more on results and less on attendance. Online meetings have become the norm. Individuals are now able to integrate work life with home life.
Employees are working remotely and organizations should make sure that they do not work alone. The lines of communication must be kept open. Managers should check in on employees regularly by both team meetings and one-on-ones. The goal of the organization must be to ensure people remain connected, engaged. Managers just can’t walk over to someone’s desk and see how they’re doing. Similarly, while working from home, managers can’t always accurately track an employee’s working hours. The chit chat among the co-workers must not stop. It should keep going via social media or some other means of staying in touch. Telling the truth at all times is key to building trust in a remote work team, and a regular work team for that matter.
Leaders can also communicate the importance of discipline and boundaries. People working wholly alone tend to become less productive over time, although they may work longer hours than they did in the office.
The boundaries between working and not working become eroded. Home workers do not receive signals about when to switch off, which office workers do when they walk out of their office building at the end of the day.
There is and will be increased use of communication, monitoring and productivity tools. Tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and others are enabling rapid communication between people and teams. There are apps like Zoom, WebEx, and teams for meetings and collaborations. There are solutions such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Asana for collaboration on projects. And then there are monitoring tools such as ActiveTrack, Teramind and Prohance, which allow you to track team activities. The list goes on and on. As a matter of fact, these softwares must be used by the employees in the most effective way.
There is no new normal for work as yet. The pandemic has surely created a host of challenges for all the companies out there. But in difficulty lies opportunity. Organizations must identify the most important elements for each and every business and function. They must re-envision it completely, involving the employees. Most importantly, the organizations should strive for integrity.
Those are the days when employers could retain their workforce only with financial perks. The new age employer has to keep up with the needs of the workplace. It’s time to accept the fact that it is important to find a work-life balance. The workforce will be more attentive now to connect with the entire team as they are working in virtual space, so their efficiency will enhance.
We need to make new policies, guidelines for work from office and home, and define the rational requirement of the employee in the office or home etc. We need to ensure support to execute these policies to make a win-win situation for employees and the employer. We are standing in front of a new world of work culture, and it is time for us to embrace the changes. Re-imagining and reconstructing culture and practices while working from home will serve as the biggest foundation of an improved operating model that leverages the best for remote work.