Remote workforces have become very common amid the pandemic and with the pandemic days being far from over this system is expected to continue even once the virus is contained. The way companies are managing remote workforces will definitely initiate long-term implications for their business and its growth potential.
Managing remote workers requires an extra effort from employers, as companies face unique challenges when employees are not together in a physical office. However, with a solid strategy and effective communication, businesses with remote workers can overcome any kind of obstacles.
For remote work to be a success, employees know what is expected of them – the scope of the work, the deliverables and the deadlines and there should be no room for obscurity. If one is doing a poor job, morale and productivity will suffer, on the other hand if you’re successful, a remote workforce can build immense loyalty and boost engagement with in the company.
Not only India Inc but the corporate world the world over is in the throes of a transition in work environment wherein the key words are remote working or hybrid working model.
Over the past two years, companies have dealt with both the issues pandemic and labor shortage. As per a recent survey conducted by the HR software company Principles, says that 94% of responding companies onboarded new remote employees during the pandemic have only interacted with their co-workers virtually. Out of these companies, 31% responded that new employees are adapting but struggling to make connections with coworkers, while 10% are unsure of how these employees are adapting at all.
As companies are adapting to this new normal, Managers and HR heads are faced with the challenges posed by work rhythms of remote working teams. A slew of strategies and models are being used in different sectors to get the maximum benefit from remote working.
Talking about the mechanics of this new normal Sonica Aron, Founder and Managing Partner, Marching Sheep, says, ‘Work from home’, seen as a perk or a special benefit for a few of those in need in pre-covid times, became a norm in the last two years. However, each time we saw things improving, organisations fell in one of the following brackets. There were organisations who embraced the concept wholeheartedly, who could see the benefits of saving real estate cost, travel time, giving better work life balance and allowing workforce the flexibility to work from anywhere. The other bracket opted for hybrid working models as per industry needs, where some functions and roles needed to be at work, or some people simply chose to be at work few days a week for ease of meetings or personal interaction. Then came the bracket where organisations insisted on employees coming back to office citing reasons of higher productivity and innovation.
Different tools and strategies are being used across the board to keep up productivity standards as well as to allow the workforce to maintain the delicate work-life balance even as the work space is merging with personal space literally. Maninder Singh Bajwa, CEO and Founder, iScuela said, “Work from home is something that no one planned for or anticipated. Both the employees and employers had to manage their expectations due to this change. Companies have gotten better with time to manage this new form of working. Adoption of tech tools to manage timelines and work allocations have helped retain and, in some cases, increase the levels of efficiency in the employees. For us at iScuela it’s basically helping our team to achieve work life balance. As we work to help children become curious and transform them into lifelong learners, our team needs to always be at their creative best. We believe we can only achieve that if our team gets ample opportunity to focus on learning new things apart from work. When our teams are working from home, we encourage them to pick up something new even if it’s reading a book or writing a journal. Pandemic has already taken a lot away from people’s lives”.
According to Rakesh Saraf, Founder and Director, Windsor Digital, “Digital Marketing has been a blessing for most businesses through online advertising during the pandemic. For us, managing the workforce and making sure they have everything they need to work smoothly has been a priority. The right tools and platforms as well as regular team interactions helps them do great work for our clients “.
Chandresh Sharma, CEO, Techpanion said,”Covid-19 has unparalleled human challenges that are proportionally affecting the companies and their employees. Many organisations are acting swiftly to safeguard employees, leading to the migration of employees to a new workplace. A modern business is centered around its employee experience, as this inevitably leads to a more successful, profitable, and productive organisation, making sure no stone is left unturned in bringing out the best of their potential. To ensure this, we actively participate in engaging and shortlisting the learning programmes as per our employee’s capabilities and needs. Not only this, but we also aim for a virtually-flexible work environment, i.e Work from Anywhere! Post-Covid, we now know how a remote working environment feels like, hence it is easier to allow our employees to customise their schedules based on the other priorities in their life!”
Sumit Gupta, Founder, Whizard API said, “We live in a fast-paced world where our professional and personal lives are often rushed and mashed together in a blur of activity. We have a chatbot solution, for businesses to operate in a much more effective way by increasing brand awareness, tracking leads, gaining customer loyalty, and providing a seamless communication experience, all on a recognized messaging platform. In this unprecedented time when face-to-face interaction is not the best way to connect, make it convenient for businesses to cater to the demands of people via instant replies, alerts and notifications, regular reminders, 24×7 services, and information regarding new offers and deals. Therefore, keeping the current scenario in mind we are looking forward to making people understand the use and benefits of an official WhatsApp Business API integration.”
Amid this new trend it is however, heartening to see managements and HR heads sparing a thought for work-life balance. “The companies need to strike a fine balance between giving their employees work, making them accountable and also not expect them to be working 24×7 just because they are working from home. Companies need to focus on the work life balance of their employees which will help in maintaining good mental health which will undeniably increase efficiency and productivity,” says Bajwa.
Kriti Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CPO, StoreHippo said, “Work-life balance is a tightrope walk for most of us. The change in workforce dynamics and increasing competition among companies are threatening the security of a job for employees. Our ultimate goal is to create a flexible and motivating work environment – where employees feel trusted and valued. However, the yellow alert presently has got employees worried and in a critical mental state, so they must be provided with a flexible as well as virtual working environment along with an active learning experience for a better quality of work and results.”
“In a nutshell, it all boils down to trusting employees on their commitment, empowering them and evaluating them on deliverables as opposed to micromanagement and judging them on time spent in office. Organisations that have managed to build processes based on trust, decision making that includes employees, empowers them have been able to leverage work from home well and continue to do so”, sums up Sonica Aron.