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How can HRs make themselves ready for this remote working mode

And what is the HRs role in the world of remote workforce?


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Satya Prakash Mohapatra

3 years ago | 5 min read

Be it established or start-up, all types of corporate ecosystem irrespective of their type of business has been affected by covid-19 in some or the other way.

When I was discussing with few big shots of conventional industries back in the late part of 2019, they were laughing at me by listening to the question. They took it in a casual way.

Although this question came to my mind as a random thought, but by virtue of working on certain projects with some young start-ups who do not have any formal brick and mortar system to operate, I found this was quite interesting.

Although everything in this world is having its own pros and cons, but when we talk about the workforce from the Productivity perspective, personally I segregate this workforce as an essential and non-essential workforce.

Let me explain it to you in a simplistic manner.

Essential Workforces are those who are acting as a backbone of the organization’s productivity, growth and have an important role in taking strategic business decisions, whereas Non-essential workforces are those who are more operational in nature.

You may say it blessing in disguise, Covid-19 has forced all organizations to rethink about its workforce for running the business in an adverse situation.

Few Industries have although started WFH (work from home) culture before few years, but it has some loopholes.

Due to Covid-19, business leaders have started to plug into those holes and started revamping the working culture so that productivity and engagement should not be compromised during the implementation of WFH policy.

What is HRs role in the world of remote workforce?

From HR Perspective, we have to-

  1. Work closely with IT as digital plays a pivotal role in a remote workforce perspective.
  2. Make sure that people do not feel left out, as networking is limited in remote working.
  3. Ensure that in-line proper communication should pass on from CHRO’s desk as productivity expectations may differ
  4. Encourage learning culture irrespective of management level.
  5. If time management is not the strongest suit, there are plenty of apps that can help you stay focused.
  6. Keep a pulse on the workforce and understand the changes that occur in employees overtime. To achieve it, HRs can modify their policies to closely reflect the wants and needs of its remote workforce.
  7. Schedule virtual Events at regular intervals.
  8. Evaluate performance subjectively taking into consideration the scenario of WFH.
  9. Strategise how to keep employees engaged in work from home setting?

Before Covid-19, Employee Experience plays a vital role in Employee Engagement.

Post Covid-19, Employee Communication + Employee Experience leads to Employee Engagement.

1. Setting clear expectations is the first thing HR needs to do if you want to ensure high engagement among your employees who are working from home. Whether your employees know exactly what is expected of them while they work from home? For it, you can introduce Remote Work Playbook, which talks about the story behind implementing remote work in your organization.

2. Regular check-ins with your employees are necessary when you are working remotely.

The best practice is to have a daily team or department check-ins, weekly coordination meetings, and monthly all-hands meetings. Make ensure that team leaders also keep their regular one-on-one meetings as well. 

3. Virtual coffee breaks are simply short (usually 10-20 minutes long) video calls during which your employees come together for a round of small talk over a cup of coffee. Taking short breaks from work to meet up with colleagues has been proven effective for boosting employee engagement and productivity. 

4. Personal interactions are an essential part of each company culture because they make work meaningful and enjoyable. Casual talks provide opportunities for your team members to come to get to know each other better. We can introduce a virtual water cooler space.

5. How to onboard new employees during remote work?

Coronavirus pandemic means it is not likely to bring your remote employee to headquarters for the first week of orientation. Therefore, it is easy to use video conferencing and internal messaging software to introduce your new hire to coworkers.

  1. Set Expectation from New Employees before they start work. Onboarding employees with clarity in duties is the basis for successful hires. Both HR and the remote worker should be clear on company values, team objectives, and individual goals. Reporting Manager should also establish periods for training, reviews, and milestones.
  2. Ensure the rest of the team is accepting of the new hire. Connect the new employee with veteran team members in a mentoring relationship to have a better understanding of business goals and values.
  3. For each new process you implement, you should review its impact and results. Document and evaluate how both existing and new employees react to the onboarding process. Find out what works best for onboarding remote workers by consulting those who have had similar experiences.
  4. Which tools can make it easier for HRs to lead the time while working from home?
  5. For communicating with the remote employees, you may use Slack or MS Team.
  6. For Attendance Management System, you make use attendancebot.
  7. Avoid back-and-forth between employees by setting up a helpdesk using OfficeAmp.
  8. Manage every part of your company’s functioning within Notion. Notion allows you to manage your notes, tasks, docs, and team wiki— all in one place. The app is very flexible with how you organize your content, allowing you to create calendars, Kanban boards, spreadsheets, and more.
  9. Trello is a Kanban style tool that allows you to manage your projects in a visual dashboard. Organize tasks into cards and move them around based on their status. You can also add deadlines and assign people to a card. 
  10. When you are working remotely, employee bonding is hard. Donut helps you build relationships among your employees. The app automates employee bonding by introducing people who do not know each other well on teams of all sizes via direct messages and encourages them to meet in person or virtually for a variety of programs, from virtual coffee meetups, team-bonding activities to peer learning. 
  11. Bonusly lets you set up a points-based system to recognize well work and reward your employees. Build a scalable culture of recognition by empowering everyone to recognize his or her peers, direct reports, and managers.
  12. Manage your files in one place with Dropbox. Organise all of your team’s content, tune out distractions and structure everything you need to run your business smoothly.
  13. Loom is a great screen recording app for employees to give tutorials and demos of tactics and apps they want to talk about. The app takes the boring documentation out of introducing a new strategy at work. Just capture what you are doing, switching cameras when necessary and share the video.
  14. Do your daily stand-ups take time? Set up Geekbot to automate your stand-ups and boost productivity. The app allows you to grab insights from your employees on what they are working on as well as their blockers without having to spend their mornings on a call. 
  15. If you are looking to collaborate with your remote working team, MURAL is your answer. It provides teams with a digital workspace to plan their work more visually, whether you want to solve problems or brainstorm more ideas.
  16. Team engagement and bonding is crucial to keep your employees motivated. With Game Monk, you can engage employees in 90-second games to take a quick break from their busy schedule.

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