COVID-19’s impact on remote working: How adaptable is your firm?
Companies need to adopt new models of working, not out of choice, but, as an alternative strategy to handle the emergency, writes Fiza Malhotra, global marketing head - Brand Development, Digital Marketing and PR, Space Matrix
Uncertain times call for extraordinary measures. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, most of the major countries across the planet are in some state of lockdown. Many global enterprises like Google, Facebook, Microsoft as well as Indian companies have tried to quickly adopt work-from-home. While the survival and well-being of employees and their families is top priority, some economies have tried to adapt and maintain continuity of work operations. Hence, companies need to adopt new models of working, not out of choice, but, as an alternative strategy to handle the emergency. No time like the present to put these to the test. But what do you need to plan for to assess if your firm is ready to work-from-home?
Employers must provide their employees with equipment, training and necessary guidance to work efficiently from remote locations. Some firms offer an allowance for employees to set up a home office where they can work without any interruption or inconvenience. High speed data access, computers/laptops, ergonomic office furniture, stationery, gadgets, power backup etc., are also taken care of. For those employees, who don’t have space at home, the alternative of co-working spaces can be offered.
The biggest headache that businesses face during remote working situations is the challenge of effective co-ordination between teams. Mere daily conference calls or asking employees to log in is not enough. Spontaneous collaboration, free flow of ideas and innovation is of utmost importance for most companies. Thus, a strong interactive work process integrating online meeting tools, screen sharing apps, chat and video calling apps etc., is crucial to connect employees on a real-time basis. Employees shouldn’t feel out of sync while working from their respective locations.
Companies that regularly handle sensitive customer data and private information need to ensure that they install capable security software, provide updates or set up firewalls on not only the employees’ computers but also on their smartphones and other gadgets which might be used to access client information. It is more important than ever to plan ahead and mitigate threats such as hacking, cyberattacks, phishing and data theft activities.
Long spells of remote working, especially among those who are used to routinely working from physical offices, can cause loneliness and a sense of isolation. To ensure emotional wellness of their employees, companies need to use technology and create an ambience where interactions go on smoothly. There are options like video hangouts, online meditation, online gaming sessions and conference calls etc which can keep the employees in good humor. Further, health and fitness apps can encourage employees to remain physically active and in good spirits. Some friendly banter, sharing of jokes etc., goes a long way in helping the employees stay focused.
Covid-19 outbreak might be an undesirable disease outbreak, but it has provided companies with a chance to test waters with their work-from-home preparedness. This would lead to formulation of a proactive, flexible and well-thought out strategy.