A couple of days ago The Globe and Mail (a Canadian media outlet) wrote an article titled:
Working from home is causing breakdowns. Ignoring the problem and blaming the pandemic is no longer an option.
If you don’t have a subscription there you can see a lot of commentary on Twitter here. But really, do you even need to read the article, or the tweets? I imagine you, and your organization’s leadership, has already talked about this. I imagine it has impacted you and your leadership on a personal level.
Working from home can be HARD. When I started working from home, in 2006, my wife had to find some resources on how to deal with a spouse that suddenly started working from home. The articles she found were all about how to deal with a spouse after they retire, and are home all the time.
Take that stress and multiply it because we are talking about dual income families where both adults now need to be online, on streaming calls, with minimal noise or visual distraction. Your home isn’t your home anymore. And what do you do with the kids? Daycares around the world were shut down… so which of the parents gets to reschedule meetings because there’s a two year old who doesn’t quite get Zoom etiquette?
I’ve been concerned about these people. But I’ve been more worried about the people who live alone who were quarantined at home. I know people who have gone for weeks, months, almost a full year without seeing others. Even introverts need human interaction.
Of course, some good has come out of the work from home model. Companies who demanded we would be less productive have seen that, indeed, productivity didn’t decrease. Perhaps it increased. And I know plenty of people who were so glad to not commute, and even put some of their commute time into work. We, the workforce, have proven that we can do our jobs, do them well, and be honest about our part of the employment agreement. I love reading the company announcements saying their workforce can work remotely forever.
But, back to the breakdowns. On the Twitter thread you’ll see lots of these horrible words:
This is yucky stuff. As organizational leaders we have been presented a real opportunity to react in a way that strengthens a positive culture. Your team members need an immense amount of guidance, communication, and patience. These are three ingredients that go into nurturing the culture you should want. Employees are looking at leadership decisions during the pandemic. They know you don’t have all the answers but they definitely want to be treated with respect.
Guidance, communication, and patience.
In addition to treating your team with respect, and realizing that now is the time to think of them more as humans with needs, and with others who depend on them, there are things you can do with your incentives and performance systems to help reinforce your culture and respect your team.
Use the tools in your Snowfly platform to have a central information repository (like a bulletin board). Remember the training videos you have for onboarding? Why not create some new pandemic, or work from home, videos and essentially re-onboard your team? This is built into Snowfly, along with the gamification, incentives, and tracking that can help ensure this information gets to every employee, that they go through the new videos, and respond so you know they understand what’s new. These communication tools are built into Snowfly, and you have access to them right now. Contact your customer services rep and ask how to do this.
2020 is in our rear view mirror. The question is, do we understand the ramifications of all of the disruption and changes that were forced on us a year ago? If that article, and the Twitter conversation, are any indication, the answer is no. There will be more fallout.
Again, as leaders, this your opportunity to create a stronger organization. We want to help.
Snowfly provides tools to increase performance and engagement. It’s baked in. It’s in our DNA. If you aren’t using Snowfly yet, schedule a call with our sales team. They’d love to understand your needs and determine if we can help you.