Conversations surrounding the future of work have been happening for a while. Several predictions and expectations were laid down, however, the one prediction surrounding the future of work that no one could have imagined or been prepared for came into play, as a direct outcome of the global pandemic, throwing open a whole new way of working, and sparking conversations around how to function in the new reality of work.
It has been a while now, the global workforce is beginning to get accustomed to this change. Swiftly switching gears from waking up, getting ready, commuting, settling in the workspace, morning huddles, watercooler conversations, potluck lunches, and getting by in the ‘9 to 5’ work culture to now waking up, getting ready, logging in and getting on with work with your family a look away, and colleagues a click away.
Enabling you to navigate the new reality of work under the current climate, People Matters in partnership with Workplace from Facebook hosted a webinar, “Keeping Employees Informed and Connected During a Crisis” where the speaker, Ashley Hotta, Client Partner at Workplace from Facebook APAC touched upon:
- How to enable employees to be just as productive while working remotely as they would be working in the office?
- What is Workplace from Facebook and best practices for using Workplace to maintain effective communication with your employees?
Read on for highlights from the webinar.
Redefining communication amid unprecedented times
Given the severity and magnitude of impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on health, jobs, and the global economy, with no inputs on how long it is likely to exist, there is a need to redefine how we communicate and be able to share accurate real-time updates with the workforce.
Especially given the nature of multiple organizations with a geographically widespread workforce.
Productivity and engagement are two key areas that are dreaded to take the biggest hit when working from home. However, with the help of collaborative tools like Workplace from Facebook, among others, leaders can build a community for the employees, by the employees, of the employees. While remote working until 2019 was a perk, in 2020 it is how work happens. Given the scenario that made this change happen, it is even more crucial to leverage the latest technology and tools to not only maintain an open line of communication, but also to minimize the impact on employees and business continuity.
The inability to see each other face to face shouldn’t become a roadblock in effective communication and collaboration. Organizations need to gear up and enable employees to be as productive when working remotely as they are when working from office premises, maintaining the same level of care. Despite the best intent to keep employees engaged, communicating online has its cons that include not being able to reach people, lack of attention and inadequate feedback. However, by encouraging and implementing smart software that is intuitive and enables faster learning, it becomes much more effective to amplify internal connections and break down the barriers created by distance. Technology here empowers employees to communicate with the right people at the right time, catch attention as well enable leaders to measure impact.
Times of crisis are bound to bring about changes that are likely to stay over an extended period of time. Be it in terms of talent decisions, forming new connections, building a firefighting and experimentative mindset or an agile approach to challenges.
Leveraging workplace tools to manage crisis
There is a pressing need to bring in robust platforms to foster continuous communication and build a high performing and informed remote workforce.
For the sustenance of both employees as well as the business, it is crucial to identify the right technology that aligns with the need of your business and coincides with the infrastructure and facilities available with your employees.
It is important to note here that the very base of any such technological inclusion has to be creating an experience, be it for your employees, for your clients or for your vendors.
Only using the right interface will help you encourage employees to make the most of it and drive optimum utilization. As shared by Ashley, here are essentials that you must factor in your workplace tools in addition to them being user-friendly:
- Informing employees: Communication is particularly important during crises. It is crucial to be able to distinguish between reliable information and noise. With in-built news feed pages leaders can create an organization-wide group that would serve as a single trusted source of information for employees all across. It is also more convenient for employees to have something to fall back on when in doubt. In addition to keeping employees informed, collaborative softwares also provide options to create more interactive closed groups to help teams coordinate global responses on the actions taken by the organization, conforming to internal standards of communication.
- Showing care: Engagement, building a rapport and maintaining constant connect, in short a replacement to not only watercooler conversations, but also allowing employees to reach out to the leadership directly to address any queries or share their ideas. With features like polls and surveys it becomes much easier for leaders to be able to keep track of the pulse of the organization and utilize insights and analytics to understand gaps, and concern areas to equip themselves with a deeper understanding of which employee groups require greater attention. While it is not a replacement for a face-to-face interaction, latest technologies help bridge the physical gap between people through virtual connects, where they can exchange information, share ideas, ask for inputs, and break down into smaller groups, encouraging participation from the lesser active members of the organization.
The timeline for the end of COVID-19 has not yet been ascertained, which essentially means we will continue to work in the way we are right now, for time unknown. That makes it imperative to make a mindset shift, become more agile and identify avenues to normalize work and culture. Speaking of culture, a lot of effort has gone over the years in building equitable, diverse and inclusive workplaces. It is the need of the hour to also ensure that all those efforts don’t come to a standstill. With the help of collaborative technology, organizations can also create virtual Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Through virtual interactions, broadcast events, online education tools, the momentum of building equitable workplaces must go on, it is needed now more than ever.
- Enabling productive remote work: As mentioned above, productivity remains a key concern in the remote working model.
What’s likely to help strengthen the productivity barometer at everyone’s new workplace is acceptance, consistency and communication.
Acceptance that this is the new norm (leaving behind preconceived notions), consistency in efforts and deliverables by employees, and a two-way communication between the management and employees, as well as within management and among employees. To help make this transition smoother for both work and the human mind, it is important to develop and follow best practices, make the most of technology and not let communication and learning stop.
Replicate your organizational culture into a digital culture, accept that digitization is no more about processes but a way of life, and effective consistent communication is the foundation of surviving not just the global pandemic, but any challenges that come before the human race.
For more details on how you can leverage workplace tools, you can view the webinar here.