The world hasn’t been a usual place since the start of this year. Our lives have been changed drastically ever since the outbreak of coronavirus. We have always wished to have a little more time. But, during this pandemic, we have been trapped in our own houses, figuring out how to utilize this extra time. We have checked out almost every task on our personal to-do/ wish list (except traveling for obvious reasons!). Despite that, we have plenty of time left in our hands. Besides giving us a hard time, this pandemic has brought us closer to our families, allowed us to participate in the chores actively, and given us time to learn and do things that we wanted to complete but couldn’t due to lack of time. Besides everything that it changed, this pandemic adversely affected the regular working cycle.
How has COVID-19 changed the world?
As the pandemic touched our planet, almost all the organizations paraded their workforce to work from home. It was an easy adaptation for some organizations due to their decision to invest in flexible work culture and normalize the technology for many years. However, this change was far more intimidating for the organizations that did not do the same.
Every business globally worries about supporting their employees, guaranteeing work continuity, and keeping the clients happy. However, apart from these challenges, one must not forget that we still need to figure out how to escape this fear and adjust to the ‘new normal.’
No matter how much we console our minds that this will go back to normal, we all know it will be a permanent change. The shock of this pandemic will forever change how we think about it. To avoid the workplace being affected by this negativity, some tips will prevent the workplace from turning into a stressful and gloomy place.
How Can One Create Positive Work Culture At an Organization During Such Times?
Companies worldwide have started working around the clock alongside everyone learning to adjust to the new normal while controlling the coronavirus spread. The adverse effects are seen everywhere, from individuals struggling with stress, fear, and anxiety to companies facing payroll adjustments, layoffs, bankruptcy, and more. These tough times indicate that any company must guarantee a sense of normal workplace to its employees. The responsibility for a positive work culture comes on the shoulders of the HR leaders of the company.
Consider the following key measures:
1- Build a Feeling of Community
Any workplace becomes comfortable for the employee when there is a bond or friendship. This friendship is created when they meet each other daily and talk about their day. As a result, the employees feel engaged in the organization. Company-wide meetings through videoconferencing can bring this same energy to the virtual office. The company can also allow the employees to have one-on-one chats on their cell phones or instant messaging software.
To get your company’s “fun place to work” reputation back, you need to encourage your employees to engage in activities where they often communicate with each other. For example, you may create a “virtual hangout” where the employees can chat. This is to build an atmosphere where the employees feel a sense of community to increase their teamwork. You can also hold a virtual team lunch by getting food delivered to employees’ homes.
2- Successfully Utilize Accessible Tools and Technology
Using tools to connect and work together can bring out the efficiency of the employees. Tools and technology like email, videoconferencing, emails, and text can enable the employees to connect. Technology like HR management software, automated payroll software, and online attendance systems can make the workplace more productive. Project management software like Trello or Wrike can also be put to fair use.
3- Understand Everyone’s Efforts to Adjust to a New Working Environment.
In pandemic conditions, transferring from a physical office to a virtual one is time-consuming. Unlike the “old normal” where employees could sit in a co-working space or a coffee shop to complete their work, they are completely trapped in their homes. Everyone’s residence is not the same. Many employees share their workspace with their life partners, roommates, or family. They adjust to working despite being interrupted by their spouses, children, or parents. With these efforts, the employees face the stress of social distancing, isolation, and the whole idea of a pandemic. Many employees might be going through some financial crises because of the economic cutoffs. None of their problems should be disregarded. One should understand that despite all these issues, the employees are trying to complete their work. The superiors should help the employees reduce their stress.
4- Hold onto Proper Communication.
We are all mindful of the inevitability of communication in the organization. When every employee is remote, its importance shoots up. Working from home may be different for some people. Their confusion about how often to report to the superior, changes in the process, registering online attendance, etc., need to be addressed. The superiors must address the concerns as soon as possible and ensure continuous and effective communication between them and the employees.
5- Fortify the Organization’s Vision and Mission
The company’s core purpose and values must be shared in all-employee meetings. This task can be done by recognizing the employees representing the company’s values. You can also share the story of how leaders fulfill the company’s mission.
6- Remember to celebrate
Getting through each day is becoming tougher. But, completing yet another day is no less than an achievement these days. Celebrate each employee who reports working daily, commits to the organization’s goals, and completes their work. Celebrate to reduce anxiety, to reduce fear, to bring more positivity, and celebrate togetherness. Little moments like these strengthen the motivation and create a feeling of oneness.
7- Stay Away from Assumptions
As explained in point 5 above, everyone has their struggles. Expecting employees to read your mind is just adding fuel to the fire. Communicating your messages, intentions, and expectations to the employees is better. This will prevent confusion and miscommunication. The employees will feel at ease and have one less burden on their shoulders. This is not a great time to make assumptions anyway.
Deciding and saying what kind of culture you want is not enough. You have to build it. 2020 is the year to take culture-building seriously. Companies with the positive work culture in these times can retain their MVP employees. With this, they can satisfy their customers and generate revenue. Create a stronger bond with and among your employees by implementing the tips described above. Make efficient use of the available technology and increase the productivity of employees and the organization. Let’s not let this pandemic harm our work culture.