Companies, big and small, around the world, have rolled out mandatory remote-working policies to promote social distancing and keep their employees safe. But the big question is, ‘How can productivity be maintained?’
With the coronavirus outbreak, most companies have asked their employees to work from home or telecommute. However, to assume that all employees will be equally motivated, engaged and high on productivity is too much to expect. Some employees are bound to be slow and sloppy, and may treat the opportunity as an extended holiday. Even for the efficient ones who are already in place, if the telecommuting period is prolonged, monotony may set in. This will cause them to struggle to keep themselves motivated.
It will be the HR’s job to ensure that the business and client delivery remain unaffected. Now, that is a daunting task!
For companies to keep the workforce engaged during such difficult times, communication is the key. Being away from the team can make remote employees unsure of whether their contributions are impacting the team or project in any way. Connecting them with other co-workers can make them feel connected to the team. Engaging them on social platforms can work in the company’s favour as well. Clearly, timely communication and frequent feedback can assure these employees that their role is valued, and also keep them engaged.
Mindtree has been actively engaging with its employees, sharing health advisories from time to time. A 24×7 medical helpline, staffed by specialist doctors, has been set up for Mindtree Minds and their families. Initiatives such as a microsite and a helpline specifically created for Covid-19 are helping Mindtree Minds get real-time guidance on any coronavirus-related queries.
Most IT organisations are trying to do their bit to keep their workforces engaged. ”Amid the corona virus scare, and the myths going around, we have to take care of the hygiene factors in an organisation. In such a situation, communication becomes the key and you have to provide social distancing measures to the employees. In the midst of chaotic situations like these, the responsiveness is slow. Therefore, we have to deal with employee fear, hygiene, social distancing, practical sessions, and also get epidemic experts on board to keep the employees engaged,” said the HR head of another IT company.
Where employee engagement is concerned, ITC Infotech is not lagging behind either. Suchismita Burman, CHRO, ITC Infotech, stressed on the kind of roles that an employee plays, saying, “ What needs to be done from an engagement standpoint is purely based on the nature of the role each employee plays. From educational engagement and awareness, to helping them in this virtual journey, is what we are focused on.”
“To make sure that productivity is not hampered and employees remain engaged, keeping the line of sight at a certain level and allowing the employees the required access is a key responsibility of the managers,” adds Burman.
Yes, technological advancements have not only allowed us to work from home efficiently, but have also helped companies monitor their employees. Companies are using collaborative tools and time-tracking applications to effectively examine the remote work 24/7. Video conferencing and skype calls keep the individual employees connected to the team and ensure that employees do not feel alienated and lonely.
“Most of the Mindtree Minds are already working from home, as we have enhanced infrastructure and remote-access facilities such as collaboration tools. We are encouraging Mindtree Minds to utilise the time available to enhance their skills, using our digital learning platform, Yorbit,” says Paneesh Rao, chief people officer, Mindtree.
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