+38 044 333 61 23 Business Center “Gulliver”,Sportyvna Square 1,Kyiv, 01023 info@allstars-it.com

Workplace the day after COVID-19

The last few weeks have been life-changing. Our generation had never witnessed an event that impacted our daily lives so dramatically, so we were not prepared for the heavy disruption caused by COVID-19. Now, we must adapt to a new environment.

So it is time to take stock of the situation, align our thoughts, keep our teams safe, and establish systems to maintain productivity while in the middle of a once-in-a-generation event. Then, we should focus on how the workplace will change once this pandemic is over and the world returns to some semblance of normality. Yet, it is likely that a new normal will require us to adopt a more flexible model, where teams ride a path between onsite and remote work.

New research suggests that companies that allow their teams to work remotely at least once a week will see increased employee productivity, reduced turnover, and lower organizational costs. But there are some risks and factors to understand and consider when staff is working remotely.

Challenges of Remote Work Days

Lack of face-to-face supervision: Staff (both managers and those in non-managerial positions) often express concerns about the lack of face-to-face interaction. Some supervisors might be concerned that remote workers might slack off, while non-managerial staff struggle with reduced communication with their supervisors.

To overcome this, managers should establish structured daily check-ins with remote workers. The key aspect is that these check-ins occur regularly and predictably, and to create an open forum where remote staff knows they can consult with you and have their concerns and questions addressed.

Provide a range of communication, email alone is probably insufficient. Video conferencing has many advantages, especially for smaller groups. Visual cues allow for increased “mutual knowledge” about co-workers and help reduce the sense of isolation among teams. Video is also particularly useful for complex or sensitive conversations, as it feels more personal than written or audio-only communication.

Lack of access to information: People are often surprised by the extra time and effort needed to locate information from co-workers while working remotely. Even getting answers to simple questions can feel like a large obstacle. This phenomenon extends beyond task-related work to interpersonal challenges that can emerge among remote co-workers.

Establish “rules of engagement”. Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, method, and ideal timing of communication for their teams. Keep an eye on communication among team members to ensure they are sharing information as needed.

Social isolation: Loneliness is one of the most common complaints about remote work, with employees missing the informal social interaction inherent to office settings. Over a long period, isolation can make staff feel less “belonging” to their organization, and can even result in increased intention to leave the company.

This problem is a sign of the times, as millions of people work remotely due to Covid. As a company, it is highly recommended to enable opportunities for remote social interaction. Try to introduce ways for remote workers to interact with each other about non-work-related stuff.

For example, promote virtual office coffee breaks, where “care packages” can be sent in advance to be opened and enjoyed simultaneously. Virtual events help reduce feelings of isolation and promote a sense of belonging.

The bottom line

Disruption brings change and opportunity. Managing remote teams requires effort and structure, but none of this should revolve around controlling staff. Working arrangements agreed and supported by the team are critical. Things like what tools and channels are we using, and for what purpose, where do we share information, how do we issue and track tasks, what must we stop doing, what is our etiquette, etc.

Leave a Reply