Before 2020, the work-from-home model for businesses had never fully been explored by the management – revealing its pros and cons. Before, employees could have a work-life balance and had dedicated time for work and personal life; however, during the pandemic, the world had to make a sudden shift to home offices. As a result, working hours have increased drastically. The line between work and family time has blurred as you have to be on your toes to attend back-to-back Zoom meetings and reply to a chain of never-ending emails.
And so, adapting to the new-normal working environment has affected operational productivity and employee well-being positively and negatively. Based on a survey, 63% of people felt that they have been more productive while working in the confines of their home office. At the same time, many believe that adjusting to remote work has cost them team collaboration and workflow efficiency due to multiple household distractions. As the world navigates the crisis, the “home office” reality is becoming a routine, and businesses have no choice but to embrace it.
So here are a few ways how CIOs and CTOs can protect their team from chronic home-office stress:
1. Build a flexible working schedule
Companies shifting to a complete work from home model is a dramatic transformation. However, digital technologies and video conferencing trends have been facilitating the move to a digital workplace. But as a leader, you need to make sure that your team is not stressed out by the number of meetings they have to attend on Zoom or similar communication platforms. Hence, making it difficult to deal with ‘Zoom Fatigue’ Moreover, a typical corporate structure is not built for efficiency, and your team has to keep up with a lot of email overload.
To unforeseen weather events like these, you need to build a flexible schedule for your team. For example, you can create a prioritized daily task list which is especially important for managing remote teams. This will help your section to keep things sorted according to their availability so that they can find the right time when they are most productive rather than just matching business hours while putting productivity at stake. Also, you can make the onboarding new employees process a little easier by adopting emerging technologies in your workflow. For example, rolling out chatbots can help you in the remote onboarding process. Therefore, bots effectively deal with the corporate benefits and training queries of new hires individually.
2. Develop a structured communication flow
During such times of uncertainty, businesses around the world are striving to make sense of remote work. As a leader, you need to ensure that there is a systematic communication channel between your team. For a successful transition to the new normal, your IT team must make a strategy to provide every employee with reliable connectivity devices that can support their corporate system in their homes to avoid any hurdles in the communication. As a team leader, you have to conduct weekly meetings where your team shares progress reports. This helps you keep everyone in the loop so that any miscommunication can be avoided.
Also, you need to realize that you have to keep your team motivated and productive during these desperate times. For this, you can set up virtual coffee meet-ups where your team can share tips on staying positive and motivated in these challenging times and visit connected. This ensures your team does not burn out during hectic working days.
3. Make meetings more meaningful
Earlier, the conference room meetings in the office setup didn’t allow everyone to take part and put their perspective on the table due to dominant voices always taking over. As a leader, you need to be proactively deal with such challenges in virtual meeting setups. To keep everyone engaged, you have to make a little extra effort to prepare pre-meeting material. Then, the pre-meeting notes can be shared across your communication channel.
Moreover, sometimes people may not join the meeting at the scheduled time, so you need to record your sessions. This will help them cope with the other team members and share their ideas later. Therefore, it is essential to keep everyone engaged in the meeting, and making preliminary notes for important meetings can make it meaningful for your team.
4. Measure your team’s productivity
When you see your high-performing team members stuck at some point in work, it can be a warning sign for you to take notice. Moreover, measuring your team’s performance and workflow productivity is vital which can be ensured by rolling out productivity tracking tools like Hubstaff or Microsoft Workplace Analytics.
By implementing these tools your team can keep a track of how productive they were during working hours. It helps your team choose a specific time for themselves to work when they feel the most productive. This, therefore, ensures a proper work-life balance.
5. Informalize internal meetings
It’s not even a question of being an introvert or an extrovert. Long back-to-back virtual meetings can drain you regardless. Likewise, virtual meetings with clients or vendors can be a taxing experience since you have to be formal and attentive for hours. So the least you can do is make internal team meetings a little informal and casual for the team.
By encouraging your team to turn off cameras if they want to, you can promote your group to casually meet over a short video meeting to discuss any challenges they are having regarding work.
- To sum it up, you can take a few steps to combat employee burnout during this crisis
- Build a flexible working schedule for your employees
- Develop a systematic communication channel
- Make meetings more meaningful
- Monitor your team’s productivity and performance
- Make internal meetings informal and casual