What was once talked about, has come into existence i.e. organizations going fully remote. Although this unanticipated shift startled the businesses in the initial stages, it is turning into an opportunity for them to save costs on a higher scale. Experts are quoting that remote work is the new standard for the future of work. Many organizations have already declared a full or partial remote work flexibility to their employees.

The benefits of having virtual teams are divulging that this new work revolution as a win-win situation for both employers and employees. However, the challenges of remote work are standing equal to its benefits. Making it even harder, now the culture establishment among the dispersed workforce has become a key complication for businesses. Also, employees’ performance and productivity have seen uneven levels given the new work environment.

How do organizations adapt and build a remote work culture that fosters uncompromised performance?

To discuss and decode it, Keka along with Xoxoday held a session together recently. The hour length discussion was joined by Gokul Rangarajan (Senior Product Manager, Keka), Naz Parveen (HR Business Partner, Xoxoday), and Jaya Lakshmi (Chief People Officer at Xpand).

The important takeaways and insights from the session are summarized for you below.

TECHNOLOGY CAN BE LEVERAGED TO ENRICH CULTURE – Gokul Rangarajan

The gap between the policy and process in enabling remote work is considerably more in our country. When compared with western countries like the US, the SMEs in India hesitate to come up with strong remote work policies post-COVID.

However, with the integration of the right technology, the space between the policy and process can be nullified. Technological intervention can help businesses to damper the instability during the adoption of new processes amid uncertain times.

The last 3 months of interactions with our customers have helped us understand 4 common key elements of productive remote work culture.

  • Transparency: Transparent communication facilitates the alignment of employees with the business’s vision and goals. Especially, open conversations from top-level management are more impactful in laying the foundation for transparency at the root level.
  • Self-Discipline: Self-discipline is crucial to everyone that helps them comply with the existing workflows with harmony. Employers can ensure employee’s self-discipline by regularly checking on them, setting deadlines for the tasks, having one-on-ones to understand employees’ concerns, and giving advice accordingly.
  • Self-Accountability: Managers cannot always be in touch with his/her team members and it is up to the individuals to be responsible for their efforts. Educate employees with practices on holding themselves accountable such as penning down all the deliverables they worked on, setting self-deadlines for tasks daily, reviewing their work, and sending regular updates.
  • Goals: In recent times, organizations resorted to change in KRAs, KPIs, and goals that align with their vision and culture for employees. Although it takes quite a while for the employees to orient towards them it ensures that everyone is on the right track.

EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING AND ENGAGEMENT ARE NEED OF THE HOUR – Naz Parveen

Remote realities have overlapped the expectations owing to the crisis and it is completely fine. Organizations should assimilate that current remote work experience of employees is not at its finest due to the prevalence of stringent restrictions.

Sudden shift has impacted individuals in certain ways and has been uncomfortable for them in some instances. Open and transparent communication has to be promoted between the employees and employers regarding their good and bad experiences for boosting their morale.

  • Going Beyond Business: Communication bound with only work-related talks would build walls inhibiting expression of emotions. It is necessary to have some personal questions in the team calls that let employees be expressive and be themselves.
  • Recognition and Appreciation: A simple compliment can go a long way in impacting employee’s motivation throughout his/her entire journey. Recognizing and sharing an employee’s achievement with the whole organization can make him/her feel that he/she’s valued which positively impacts the culture.
  • Easing Employees Stress: In a race to achieve their goals, most of the individuals work past their normal shift hours. Stress is a byproduct of the same and is quite common given that an individual is managing work and home demands simultaneously. Organizing employee health sessions/programs or having a counselor exclusively for your employees will help them in coping with stress.
  • Never Stop Having Fun: Distance should not be a reason to not have fun every once in a while. Work all through the week can be monotonous and could hinder employee’s productivity. Conducting virtual events and engagement activities is necessary to charge up employees’ enthusiasm and improve employee experience that influences culture overall.

FOUR EVOLVING COMPETENCIES FOR FUTURE-READY HR – Jaya Lakshmi

Covid-19 has accelerated the industrial revolution 4.0 in such a way that technology has become an integral part of almost every process of the business. Similarly, managing people and engaging virtually at each level demands technology intervention.

These disruptive times are shedding more light on human competencies such as communicating, building trust, hyper-personalization of employee experience along with compassionate leadership. All these competencies together contribute in shaping a great culture for the organization. With the cognizance of technology and competencies, now is the right time for the HR to take the lead in ‘managing the invisible workforce’.

The four primarily focused HR competencies for the future are,

  • Tech Leadership: Digitization and automation have seen a rapid increase in recent times. HR should upskill themselves in evaluating and integrating the available tools and technologies that are out there which provide value to the workforce. Once they are thoroughly figured out, they can be made a part of HR strategies for the organization.
  • Being Data-Driven: Data-driven decisions are the need of the hour. HR professionals need to rely on research-backed data and analytics to convince leadership management to invest in ideas that boost productivity and employee experience. Data and analytics give more objectivity to your recommendations that are being pitched to the leaders.
  • Employee Well-being: The COVID-19 situation has fueled mental challenges as people are restricted to their homes. A platform and process should be created where employees can convey their concerns to the management. To realize this HR needs to raise awareness on mental issues among the employees by regularly communicating with them in a much transparent manner. Eventually, it becomes a part of the culture that management is open and willing to help employees with their personal and professional issues.
  • Re-Imagining Talent: To match the pace of performance and productivity demands of organization the job descriptions, roles and responsibilities are to be redefined so that the right talent is mapped to the skill appropriate positions. This re-imagination opens up a larger pool of talent that an HR can tap into, such as the contract and gig workforce.

You can watch the whole session for better cognizance below.