Who would have thought that such a small virus would send legions of employees to the home office worldwide and in many cases even paralyze industries? This lock-down or partly also shut-down is unique in the history of the world.
It is important to learn from this crisis and to look forward to the business – but still not to forget the concerns within the company.
How are my team colleagues doing? Does communication work from management to employees? Are they aware of how their areas of responsibility may have changed?
Home office in days of Corona can also be stressful for many, some even consider the unwanted stay in their own home as a prison. In addition to working in the home environment, there are few escape points that can be found to compensate.
After the last laptops have been set up and handed over for the employees, the network connection is established, a video conference is established, the employees should also be contacted regularly.
What was it like in the ‘normal’ office routine? Regular meetings, in a team or face-to-face, this can also be maintained in the digitized world of work.
The usual rituals should be maintained right now, so that no state of suspense arises that unsettles the employees. Forecast on Friday, Jour-Fix on Monday morning, Team Meeting Wednesday lunchtime – the normal weekly calendar helps maintain the work structure in the home office. What should not be forgotten are clear meeting rules, especially in large phone sessions with six, eight or more participants. Set up an agenda, observe speaking times, ask each employee for his or her opinion (and explicitly) because of the lack of physical contact.
How does a company deal with this when even the specialists not working to capacity? What goals should be achieved in the changed situation? Are there online training offers that employees can take advantage of as further training measures in order to be able to move forward after the crisis, strengthened and with new knowledge?
Are there any remaining vacation days or overtime saved in the account that team members can now use up? Here, too, communication is important. Employees who are made aware of the company’s extremely difficult situation are usually prepared to make many compromises and take solidarity actions, as they usually want to support the company. Even without the offer of cheap all-inclusive flights to popular holiday regions, many employees are willing to take advantage of the time. For family outings, for a really thick book, for the garden or forest walks. Deceleration is de facto the magic word that helps employees with time (and little work) to rediscover themselves or the family and gather strength for the time after Corona.
Home office does not mean structureless work. Employees should be spared a similar feeling of floating: regular meetings, rituals and also targets are important, so that the ‘engine’ remains in motion and does not come to a standstill. Less stress in the home office must not lead to the employee becoming inefficient because he does not have a ‘controller’. Working in a home environment has a lot to do with trust – in both directions. However, if there is in fact no work involved, the company should talk openly with its employees as to whether larger periods of time are also used privately. Often such phases of calm are good for the employees … and later also for the company.
This article is part of the “Game Changer Corona Crisis” series.