What Does Working From Home Really Mean?

Published: 23 October, 2020 14:00 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

Can this be routed as an act of resilience during trying times, or can remote working shape as the successor to the corporate future for the long haul?

The beginning of this year brought on a challenging event of a global pandemic. It left the world stagnated and locked us away from our daily lives, most importantly, our work- life. Overnight, companies and industries had to shift their on-site approach into remote working, which took a while to settle into.

Employees and employers are now in a better position to combat work challenges from the comfort of their best-suited environment without hampering the organization's goals. But, can this be routed as an act of resilience during trying times, or can remote working shape as the successor to the corporate future for the long haul?

Trusting in employee performance

Previously, managers could handily glance and hover over employees and team members to check if tasks were met and could track the timeline of current projects, and to solve problems if teams were facing complications. However, with remote working, managers have to build trust in employees and believe that projects and tasks are still running to meet deadlines regardless of where the crew is working. The new attitude is making managerial strategies dependent on performance and not mere presence.

Employees are channeling productivity and are showing high performance at tasks promptly, which does not mean periodic checks are not necessary. Managers must remember not to be overbearing and worry too much as long as work produces to a high standard.

To ensure a systematic managerial discipline in the virtual realm, managers can use digital tools and techniques to track teams' successful delivery and results. One that has worked for us at WorkAmp has been Asana.

Losing company culture

Some companies identify their culture by expressing the organization's goals and practices, and some even fine-tune themselves to entirely spirit and energize the company culture. However, with the pandemic, employees that helped create the culture and bond were much more adhering than newly recruited employees. Without having grasped the culture within the physical environment of a workspace, new workforces have had to pick up cues of the company's essence and practices, often feeling like misfits.

To improve this obstacle, firms should inculcate an ambassador experience from a top-down strategy. Once managers can stimulate the culture within themselves, it becomes a positively contagious feeling that can disperse in so many new possible ways.

Sending out care packages and company merchandise paired with weekly group calls to do something fun together, are all useful methods, and most of them have been executed by us at WorkAmp. However, we do still miss the occasional retreats and water-cooler conversations.

Staying connected with the whole team

Companies are struggling to find the perfect communicative tool from dozens of accessible choices. With every person having their preferences, sticking to only one tool may not be a promising idea. Nevertheless, it is vital to remain connected as a team with consistency and finding means that allow team buy-in.

Workamp follows a communication policy. Taking scheduled calls once a week for stand-up, setting up tasks through emails and or through project management tools, and using instant messenger apps for certain hours of the day are the way we stay connected.

Facebook is exploring the possibilities of conducting VR meetings to bring remote working teams closer to a new reality. But the natural flow of brainstorming and bouncing ideas will inevitably be hard to replace.

A healthy work-life balance

The eager promise of flexibility brought remote working into the spotlight, but the line between work and life is dulling away due to the lack of knowing when to stop. Not drawing the line between the two is causing unhealthy habits and may, at the worst, cause burn-out, loneliness, and even depression. None of these are good signs and can lead to detrimental health issues. At these times, we need to be looking out for each other, and the best way to tackle this is by encouraging people to voice their feelings, making sure they feel heard and understood.

What does the future look like?

A lot has changed in the past six months with regards to workspaces. Unraveling the depths of work struggles and overcoming them has brought about an uplifted spirit in employees all over the world. However, this thriving momentum did not bring positivity to the corporate real estate industry. With many relishing the cuts on rental values, the commercial real estate sector has taken a step back.

People are social animals and crave human interaction. Even as resilient as we are at getting things done, it is very challenging and unnatural to think creatively within our homes, separated from our fellow brain-stormers. We produce our best ideas when in the company of others, interact and socialize in impromptu thoughts that can lead to euphoric notions, and share magical energy. And as long as we innovate, workspaces will not cease to exist and satisfy our corporate lifestyle.

As employees begin to resume their corporate lifestyle, companies will have to reconsider their workspaces, and the commercial real estate industry may foresee a rise again. While some employees will shift into an eternal remote working scenario, workspaces will no longer expect permanent occupancy at workstations.

Author Bio: Smeet Gala is the founder of WorkAmp, a productive organization that creates workspace solutions to experience work holistically. With an eye for marketing and strategies, Smeet has developed solutions that highlight the needs of employees as users of space. WorkAmp has solved workspaces for over 100 companies across the globe and sets as a live example to rethink spaces.

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