Permanent Work From Home – Advisable Tips for The Corporate World
“Can we all remove our caps, please? It will help me connect better with you..” I requested to the group of highly trained army team we were conducting an in-person training for, days before the lockdown. As a trainer who teaches to look for nonverbal cues in order to connect well with and understand others, it is an absolute MUST for me personally to receive feedback from my audience when I am conducting a session. It heightens the amount of exchange I am able to do with people around me, even if the information I can provide on a subject might stay similar, were I speaking with them through any other mode of communication. Today we are all operating through the online modules, and that brings me to the topic on my mind – if work from home is indeed to stay, what does it mean for companies?
A lot of major corporates have started announcing that they look forward to a lot of staff permanently working from home even after the lockdown eases. Well, here is some food for thought:
- I hope these organizations have considered the importance that corporate culture can have on employee motivation. How will this be imbibed into the bloodstream of the employees who don’t report to the office? When a corporate looks to build brand loyalty, it doesn’t just mean hiring people, giving them work and work-life balance, and paying them well. It also has to do with how employees identify with the company. The office setup, the canteen, the people around, team meetings, in-person conversations with the boss, all play a HUGE role in how much one can connect with the company and stay loyal to it.
- The above point could have a lot of implications on the frequency of job shifts. That is if jobs are available in the market, which should be the case once the lockdown eases and companies once again start slowly returning to normal. The hit on revenue would take time to recover for a lot of us, but it is only going to be an upward-moving scale. At that time, would you rather that your employees stay with you, or shift base to join a competitor because as far as they are concerned, it is more about staying home, finishing work, and receiving an SMS alert at the end of the month for salary paid.
- I am sure you have, at some time or another, bumped into another team member over a “water cooler” break when you worked in the office setup. Where you two get chit-chatting, find some information about how things tick in the company, say in their department, come back satisfied to your own seat, and share the findings with your team. Or perhaps gossip about some grapevine with the other colleague. While these might seem insignificant to the accounts teams calculating the bottom line profits, for employees it is these little joys and breaks which can help them relate better with their jobs. For some of them, these office friends just might be a reason they wish to stick with the company. How do such connections happen accidentally in the work-from-home setup?
- I also read an article saying introverts would be better performers since they can now work from the comfort of their own place without having to face other employees. My argument for this is that our social system is balanced because there are introverts, extroverts, and the in-betweens all working together in a team. If an introvert were left all by himself, would that be all he requires in order to work at peace? Ask me, I am an introvert by nature, but I really really miss my team!
I will conclude with this – as a business owner, I have adapted to the new situation. We now have highly interactive webinars which have replaced the in-person training and coaching modules, and with practice, our team of trainers can perform just as naturally in front of the laptop cameras as we did in front of an audience. But does that mean I get the same satisfaction that I did when I could see a slight doubt on a participant’s face during my workshops and I asked him to tell me where I could explain further? Or taking up the challenge of breaking stereotypes when I trained the senior-most teams, and saw the huge resistance at beginning of the session slowly crumble down at the end of the day? Or the type of rapport my team created with so many participants whom we met in person during the training breaks? I made more money going online, but am I more satisfied?
About Author: Khyati Bhatt is the Founder of Simply Body Talk and CueKids, both of which focus on nonverbal communication. Former for senior leaders and latter for kids. She has received national and international awards for business excellence.
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