The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the workplace in ways we never imagined. From team meetings to performance reviews for employees, the processes we follow have drastically changed over the last couple of months. With remote working becoming the new normal, it’s natural that a lot of employees might find it difficult to adjust to the new realities at work. Many employees undergo stress, anxiety and lack of motivation due to these changes. Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford economist, widely known for his research on the benefits of working from home indicates that with people working from home alongside their kids, in unsuitable spaces, with no choice and no in-office days, it is bound to create productivity disasters for firms. He adds that lack of in-person collaboration may also lead to a slump in innovation.
In addition to the changes at the workplace, challenging economic conditions and news related to layoffs can also impact employee morale and productivity. In times like this, startups have to find ways to motivate employees and ensure productivity. The good old ways of functioning may no longer be sufficient in order to achieve the desired results for your organisation. In a situation like this, what is it that startups can do to get through this period? The only way to emerge stronger from the current situation is through innovation. Implementing new processes, pivoting if required, relooking at hierarchical levels, finding new ways to engage with employees are some of the ways to deal with the situation. In a post COVID-19 era, here’s how startups can innovate in different aspects related to their business.
- Innovation in product offerings: If you are one among those companies that have been severely impacted due to the pandemic, it’s time to relook at your services/offerings. Pivot if required or introduce new avenues for revenue generation. The health of the company is surely going to have an impact on the motivation levels and productivity of your employees. Though the current situation might overwhelm you, as a founder one should find ways to introduce products/services that can offer additional revenue streams for the company. For example, a handful of food delivery startups started delivering daily essentials because it was the need of the hour. Give your employees reasons to believe in the company and come up with innovative solutions that assures them about the company’s progress. Employees must feel a sense of purpose and be aware about the direction the company is heading towards.
- Innovation in processes: Reimagine processes and hierarchies in your organization. Gone are the days of multiple levels of managers to approve one single decision. Empower smaller teams that can make decision making faster. Avoid micromanaging your team and empower them to make decisions on their own. Limit the number of people in video meetings/calls and avoid any unproductive and unnecessary meetings which might bog down your team. Do away with redundant processes that are time consuming.
- Innovation in employee engagement, upskill and team building: Staying away from the office environment or lack of social engagement with colleagues can adversely affect the morale of employees. This is where HR representatives, managers and team leaders step up and come up with fun activities to engage with employees. From games to fitness sessions, one on one conversations with founders, virtual family day and many other activities can be hosted to give employees a break from the regular grind. Apart from virtual activities, companies can also help employees take up online courses for upskilling.
All the negative news around can have a drastic impact on your employee’s mental well being. For those that don’t enjoy working from home, this can be a difficult period to cope up. Most of the time, employees also end up working the entire day and beyond working hours. Those without proper home office setups or children at home can find it extremely difficult to be productive and achieve their targets. Regularly interact with your employees to find solutions that work for them and the company. Constantly staying in touch with each other ensures they are able to achieve their goals on time. Setup calls regularly to closely work on targets. Be appreciative of their efforts and appreciate the work being done amidst family, kids and regular chores. As a startup founder, it’s important to be empathetic and make employee well-being your utmost priority.