2 Important keys to a successful remote working office policy
With the dramatic spike of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia, businesses are forced to reshape their business operation in order to adapt to the changes brought by the pandemic. Notable changes can be noted in the abrupt shift of work practices as companies scramble to set up their remote working policies and infrastructure. In this new environment, it is inevitable that challenges arise that may affect productivity.
Tech companies such as Facebook and Google have taken the lead to extend the WFH policy up to 2021, and even after the restrictive movement period is over.
The top problems that HRs have uncovered, when surveying their remote working workforce includes poor communication and feeling an absent work culture. Therefore, it is crucial for HRs and leadership to start understanding these challenges within their organisation so that they are able to steer the organisation in the right direction even during this unfamiliar period.
While remote working might only seem like a temporary measure to maintain operations during the CMCO, it is highly likely that remote working will be a growing workplace trend as more companies realize the benefits or remote working and shift towards it. This article explores possible solutions for problems faced by both employers and employees in order to better shape their remote working infrastructure.
Ensuring good communication
Good communication is the key to business success, ensuring that all information is passed down in a timely and accurate manner to their intended recipients. When company policies and strategies are being passed down efficiently with no information loss, employees are more likely to appreciate and understand the intention of such information which improves the working relationship between employers and employees, possibly translating into better staff morale and productivity.
The problems of miscommunication in remote working
Remote working takes any fault in communication and exacerbates it. This is mainly due to the difference in communication style. When staff communicate online, it might be harder to tell the tone of voice and the context of the situation being conveyed due to the lack of visual aids.
We are so accustomed with picking up subtle cues in facial expressions and body language that when removed from it, we find it hard to process the information received. This means that miscommunication is likely to be more prevalent at the start of the remote working stint before staff become more accustomed to it.
How can employers provide a good environment for communication during remote working?
Communication is a two way street. Whether it is top-down or bottom-up, everyone needs to put in the effort to provide better information to their audiences.
One easy way this can be done is to create a standard of reporting between staff. The standard should have an easily understandable format that facilitates discussion and reduces misunderstandings.
An example of a standard would be how managers can convey how teams should prioritize tasks based on a two by two table of importance and urgency. This is done by separating tasks into whether they are important or trivial and whether they are time sensitive or not. The medium and frequency of such reporting should also be defined. For example, employees can conduct text-based reporting daily and weekly reporting through video calls with their managers.
Building a team spirit while online
Team spirit is an intangible quality that often gets mentioned. It is hard to pin down exactly what it encompasses but there is a noticeable difference between teams without team spirit and teams that possess it. In our examination, we will define team spirit as the culmination of positive feelings team members have for each other.
The loss of team spirit in remote working
With the decrease in human interaction and face to face communication, it is not a surprise that many employees have reported a feeling of loneliness. Even with video and voice calls supplementing human interactions, it is possible that these foreign measures are unable to completely replace the feelings of being connected to their colleagues. This can result in a loss of team spirit as employees feel removed from the team. Without being able to appreciate who they are working with and what they are working for, they might feel unmotivated and be less productive.
Rebuilding team spirit during remote work
To rebuild the sense of camaraderie in teams during remote work, managers could set up weekly huddles that promote non-work interaction between team members. This could include participating in online trivia games or just catching up with what their co-workers have been doing. Such practices enable team members to bond with each other virtually, reminding them that they are not alone at work. Another creative way of virtualizing bonding would be to participate in lunch discussion online, just like regular lunch sessions.
Our Parting advice
This period in its wake, has encouraged us to identify the cornerstones of office productivity to achieve an efficient work-from-home status. Work-from-home measures may have been spurred by the Coronavirus, yet it seems as though translating these notable points into the office or work policy after the lockdown may be beneficial.
Better communication, team camaraderie among others are building blocks that form the big picture of office productivity. While we fathom upon the importance of these 2 measures during the period, we should embrace these measures even after the lockdown, which has the benefit of creating a more efficient and effective workplace.
BGC Group is an international HR outsourcing solutions provider that has helped many employers find success with our services. Should you need advice on tailored HR outsourcing solutions to complement your day to day activities in Malaysia, we are here to help you out.