For more than a year the future of work has been a major apprehension for most organizations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some organizations are happy with the remote working strategy while some organizations are still finding it difficult to cope with the idea of work from home. With the rise in the rate of vaccination, employers are planning to reopen offices. As employees are enjoying their freedom, flexibility and increased work productivity by working from the comfort of their home, the main question arises – Are employees really ready to return and work from the office?
Though there are some incredible benefits of working from home, it is not always feasible for all conditions and has its drawbacks. Work from home makes it difficult to manage remote employees and it also brings down group creativity. Employees are also subjected to various distractions while working from home and thus affecting their productivity. This is the reason why companies are opting for HRMS software to manage their employees. By using HR software, Employee management, as well as attendance management, becomes an easy task for the HR team.
As a manager, you are in a tough spot as you were not fully prepared for the new work from home culture and are still getting used to this new normal. Your employees look up to you for various solutions and hence you have to take quick actions. Many challenges have to be faced while working remotely. Some of them are as follows:
Distractions at home– It is very easy to get distracted at home as you are in your comfort zone and a small 30-minute break would turn into a 2-hour long break. Living with a family would just add to the distraction as you cannot concentrate on your work with the continuous hustle and bustle.
Decrease in team creativity– Having face-to-face communication is very important in many fields. Working from the office makes interaction much easier and resolving the various issue over a face to face discussion is much more beneficial than arranging meetings over a call. Miscommunication is also a major concern during work from home and this affects team creativity. Performance management also becomes difficult as managers do not get a clear view of each employee’s performance.
Poor Time management– Although there are various attendance management systems, employees do not follow a discipline while working from home. Taking long breaks can often lead to the incomplete task. The employees are then forced to complete their tasks after working hours. Therefore there is poor time management while working remotely and this affects the productivity of the company.
Social Isolation– Humans are social animals. Without interacting with others, people often feel isolated and lonely. Covid-19 has forced people to stay indoors and work remotely. Due to this people are cut off from the normal world and stay in an isolated environment. Loneliness is very bad for a person’s mental and physical well-being and it can affect their work.
Technical Issues– Technical issues are one of the major concerns during work from home. An employee having an unstable internet connection or poor power supply can affect the entire team’s activity.
Despite having some challenges, most employees still prefer the remote work setup. This is mainly because employees are getting used to working in the comfort of their homes and do not have to commute for work. This gives them more free time. Since the risk of covid-19 still poses a threat, employees are also worried about their safety. This makes them skeptical about working from an office.
In the light of this situation, encouraging employees to return to the office after getting used to working from home can be a tough task for the management as well as the HR team. As a manager, it is your task to motivate the employees to return to the office by providing them with an engaging and safe environment. So here are few strategies to help you and your team have a great experience while returning to the office after a long break of remote work culture.
The first and the foremost step to be considered before employees return to the office are, to follow all the safety measures mandated by the government. Due to the ongoing pandemic, employees are worried about being infected by the virus which can be a threat to them as well as their families. So it is the responsibility of the employers to ensure a safe working environment for their employees. This can be done by providing a detailed plan on how to make the workplace safe for their employees. Employees need to feel safe mentally as well as physically. The safety measures that organizations must follow once they decide to open their workplace are:
- Make sure the entire area is sanitized and disinfected on regular basis.
- Maintain social distancing
- Provide a touchless attendance management system like a face recognition system.
- Educate staff on signs and symptoms of the Covid-19 virus.
- Boost employee hygiene by making sanitisers, hand wash and tissues readily available.
Offer flexible or hybrid work model
Since most employees prefer remote working and employers are opting for the traditional working method there should be something in between that pleases both the employees as well as employers and the best option is a hybrid model. Organizations can encourage employees to come to the office on particular days and work from home for the rest of the days. This way employees get a chance to come to the office and have better communication with their colleagues which helps them to have a face to face discussion regarding any issue. This also increases the creativity and productivity within the team.
Understand employee needs and have clear communication
An employee returning to the office after a long period has a different mindset. Some are excited to be back and meet their colleagues while some are apprehensive about coming in contact with people due to the ongoing pandemic. As a manager, you must understand your employees and make them feel comfortable. Communicate with each employee regarding their concerns or issues. Incorporating a good HR management system is a good way to motivate your employee to work efficiently.
Offer training opportunities in the office
Conducting training were one of the most difficult parts of remote working. Though there are various HR software that provides training management systems, having face-to-face training is most effective. Hosting a training program at the office will encourage your employees to come to the office and grab the best knowledge. This helps in motivating the employees to return to the office and also improves the overall productivity within the organization.
Encourage interactive sessions
After working remotely for a long period all employees need an interactive time to bond with their team members. Interactive sessions and team building sessions are of paramount importance to returning employees as it breaks the ice between employees and has a healthy work environment.
Give employees time to adjust
For more than a year your employees are used to working from the comfort of their homes. Returning to the office has many perks but your employees need time to adjust to the routine. Give your employees the time they need to adjust to this routine so that they can work efficiently.
Returning to the office has many challenges especially when your employees are getting used to their work from home culture. As a manager, you have to encourage your employees to return to the office by providing them with a safe work environment. Companies need to promote employee management and employee engagement to help the team perform better. It is also important to adopt the best HRMS software for a smooth workflow within the organization.
Employees are the greatest asset of an organization. Employee satisfaction should be given utmost importance in every organization. Keeping your employees happy helps in creating a positive work environment which in turn helps in the growth of your company.