Desperate times call for desperate measures.
That’s what we witnessed with the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation lockdown pushed everybody behind their doors. But to keep the economy running, work has to be continued. Hence started the work from home system. This system has been already in existence, but its global use at such a massive scale was seen for the first time.
This brought a transitional phase. A transition from working at a desk to working from a bed, or taking calls while doing dishes. Working from home was new for most of the people. Taking work home was a challenge for most of them. Many things that were given and trivial for the office space became a luxury now.
Some Challenges Faced
- Working in isolation – working in a team, sitting together shifted to working alone at home
- Lack of in-person meetings and conversations – meetings got converted to calls
- More time consumption in task collaborations – a quick work discussion converted to long threads of chats, explaining work
- Lack of efficient work supervision – daily stand up meetings converted to undefined virtual meetings
- Distractions at home – household chores, taking care of kids, pets, family taking up work time
- No tea or coffee breaks for informal chitchats – the absence of informal office conversations, which revived the employees
All this may have created an initial ripple leading to some mismanagement and chaos. But as humans are trained in adapting to any situation, people naturally started getting a hold of this new system and inculcated a route around it.
Soon the internet flooded with proof of how different organizations sustained tough times. People used different channels to connect with each other while remaining at home, some platforms for official work, and others for recreational activities and having fun. Remote work became the new normal.
The management played a crucial role here in setting a system to make operations smooth. Different companies tried different ways of overcoming multiple problems, and the ones that succeeded are seeing growth despite the pandemic circumstances. Let’s see what helped these organizations run successfully.
How Organizations Managed Remote Work
1. Structured daily calls
Organizations realized that having one sync-up meeting daily is essential to keep work on track. And soon they started following it. It is an excellent way of letting all the team members know where everybody is progressing at a particular task. This helped the teams in creating the work pipeline accordingly.
2. Disciplined work hours
This is quite necessary for work collaboration. Although remote work brings flexibility, still it demands some fixed working hours where every employee was available for the team. This helped the individuals design the task list accordingly for effective work and helped the team with better and faster output due to team collaboration.
3. Reiterating working hours to the clients
Dealing with clients needed a separate strategy. With the demolishing of the boundaries of working hours, clients may call at any hour, demanding immediate rework on a project. To prevent the employees from the burn-up of excessive work, organizations made sure that their working hours were informed to all their clients beforehand. Of course, some tasks needed to be taken on an immediate basis, but the rest were worked on their defined timeline to avoid any miscommunication and misunderstandings.
4. Different engaging activities
Being locked up at home for several days can work on anybody psychologically. The social distancing period saw a boost in employee recreational activities more than ever. These activities like online games, video calls for fun, sharing cooking recipes, and much more, helped in keeping them engaged. Certain organizations even created separate online groups for different activities like cooking, music, games to channel their inner talent and encourage them to nourish their creativity.
5. Breaks scheduled as in the office
Losing track of time while working long hours from home is a high probability. It’s necessary to take frequent breaks. So companies advised their employees to take breaks as they used to be in the office. Like having lunch at 2 PM and tea break at 5 PM. Standardizing the breaks prevented the stretching of break times, otherwise affecting the working hours. It also gave the employees a chance to connect together over video calls to chitchat as they eat their lunch and have their tea or coffee.
Did implementing these small steps work? Did they make the work system smooth? Of course, they did. Although it may have taken a certain time to establish these temporary policies, it was all worth it, as they helped in escalating the team’s and organization’s productivity.
With the ease in lockdown and the normalcy slowly settling in, people are again moving out and offices are reopening. Everybody is excited. Soon they will again work from their desks, they will again have coffee together and burst out in laughter over some joke, but the temporary work policy that was set may be seen incorporated in the office soon. With the fluency in remote work set now, the system may be encouraged more over time.