The Complexity of Working Remotely
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Since the Covid-19 pandemic reared its ugly head several organizations have had to create and activate (BCP) business continuity plans. Parts of the plan may have included working remotely to keep their operations up and running. Organizations who insisted on specific roles being stationed in the office must now admit that many of the roles on their organizational chart could be performed at home. This employer branding perquisite that many organizations used to differentiate their recruitment strategy from the competition is now a way of life for many employers and employees. However, the ability to cancel your commute in exchange for turning on your computer to conduct business from virtually anywhere does have its pitfalls.
For most working remotely was a major "experiment" that took some getting used to. Organizations hurried to get employees set up at home and maintain the office culture. The fine line between work and home life began to blur as employees worked longer hours, parents juggled their children's schoolwork while trying to operate virtual meeting software efficiently, and office relationships decayed. There were even instances where "Micro-managers" were caught spying on their employees through spy software. https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2020-03-27/coronavirus-work-from-home-privacy. All these distractions cannot be good for office morale, so what is an organization to do to cultivate the employee-employer relationship?
Organizations hope to combat employee isolation by staying connected and keeping the lines of communication open. Some have even created virtual office simulations to assist with camaraderie. Several are assisting with employee reskilling by driving increased professional development initiatives coupled with mentoring opportunities. Others have added virtual wellness benefits to help employees decompress. The benefits could include, Telehealth appointments, virtual gym workouts, games, yoga, meditation apps, and snack delivery services.
Let us face it, whether you believe in the Covid-19 pandemic or not, the buzz about it is not going away anytime soon. The privilege of getting to work-from-home is no longer a special perk set aside for certain departments or industries. During this three month "experiment," organizations have been adjusting their policies, safety training and work environments to comply with the (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and (WHO) World Health Organization guidelines. In-order to compete and stay in business organizations will need to keep operations running safely for all employees to return to the office or just accept the remote "new normal". If the latter is done, then we will continue to see adjustments made to accommodate the virtual workforce.