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Covid19 is transforming the outsourcing business with work-from-home as a possible alternative

In the times of Covid-19, the entire game of how an office works has changed. With organizations having to close their offices the entire world’s been thrown into a turmoil. Panic with respect to the pandemic has been compounded by people’s worry about job security and lack of monetary flow. With most of the world’s economy in a freefall, major organizations have had to bring a huge chunk of their operations to a standstill and the effects are reverberating throughout the workforce.

Policies are getting thrown out of the window in the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in. Despite it all, organizations need to find a way to continue to perform the way they usually would to ensure their survival and thereby the jobs of their entire workforce. The common thread that is enabling all of this has been technology.

Organizational point of view

With social distancing firmly in place, every organization has had to explore the option of working from home. This comes with a whole host of challenges from both the organizational and employee perspective. Organizations have had to mobilize their back-office workforce that was partially equipped or not equipped for remote working and enable them to work remotely in the span of just a couple of days. For companies that didn’t previously provide extensive remote working options it could also mean adopting ways in which employees can use personal devices to connect and work together. With a move like this, organizations face the challenge of maintaining data security and integrity, both in terms of protecting sensitive data related to projects and clients, and also to ensure that their intellectual property is safeguarded. There need to be strict rules and business processes that organizations need to outline for its employees in order to accomplish this.

Organizations also need to factor in accountability when most employees work from home, because if work slows down the business will take even more of a beating in the current scenario. Organizations find themselves needing to ensure employee safety but also monitoring them for accountability. At the same time, they’ve to balance the scales of remaining solvent with business slowdown and being able to pay salaries to their employees, rent on real estate and other administrative costs. All of these measures add up in deciding the survival of the organization.

Employee perspective

Employees on their end are also having to tackle issues on multiple fronts. Families are under mental duress due to the necessary restrictions of a lock down, especially the those with aged parents or young ones at home. Fake news and lack of credible information sources have wreaked havoc in an already nightmarish situation. Putting in work as usual under such circumstances prevailing around the globe is a tough ask. But the need to keep earning money and ensuring job safety is also paramount for employees, hence they push themselves mentally and physically and continue to work. For someone who is used to working at a desk, the shift may also prove hard to adjust to initially. Seemingly trivial things like connectivity issues, power issues and who will pay for it all at the end of the day become serious concerns.

How to make it all work?

Organizations and employees will need to co-ordinate and share a relationship based on accountability and trust in order to function well together. Organizations need to cater for the anxieties their employees are bound to undergo in this period and offer them flexibility and support that they need to adjust to the current scenario. Organizations need to ensure that they provide regular updates, using technological resources, to employees on how things are progressing at a company level so that concerns about job security are alleviated. Business processes and best practices need to be put in place wherein employees can work at times that are the most convenient to them but adhere to deadlines and data security measures while they do so.  The remote organizational infrastructure should ensure that the only thing that ought to worry their employees are the business needs and everything else that they require from an administrative standpoint would be taken care of for them.

Maintaining employee morale and ensuring their mental well-being should be a primary concern for organizations. They could explore the idea of having online sessions for its employees, and even their families wherein they are able to destress and come to terms with the panic around the pandemic. This could be something as simple as yoga or meditation sessions, or even offering counselling services to those who are facing mental pressure in coping with the situation. Organizations need to get in touch with their humane side and find solutions that meet the needs of the organization while taking into account the challenges that each individual is facing and put into place the process that can help them with it. HR functionalities would play a vital role in ensuring the morale of the organization is kept high and the necessary support is given to everyone that needs it.

The IT division could work with the HR division to come up with innovative solutions by leveraging technology, that would benefit employees by bringing a sense of new normalcy as they work. This could be simple reminders for employees to take a break to make sure the increased screen time doesn’t adversely affect their eyes, or keep themselves hydrated.

Employees need a way to vent the frustration and build ways to cope with the change. They could also be empowered during this time to reflect on their work life balance and learn how to manage it effectively. It could also be seen as a glimpse into the future and prepare them for an era wherein working from home is not an option but the norm across industries. Technology can help in catering to these needs by connecting employees through an internal company network. Group counselling sessions or activities can be organized online for teams that would act as team building exercises.

Employees need to spend time with their families ensuring there’s no unnecessary panic that is caused due to misinformation. They also need to hold themselves accountable for the work they are entrusted with, and not slack off and thereby end up putting the company’s future and not to mention their own job at risk in the future. Taking the onus of their work and its complete ownership is extremely crucial in times like this.

It is also necessary for employees to take care of their own mental health and deal with the natural anxieties they might have and not let it fester. They should stay connected with friends and family and not lose sight of the future. They should reach out to organizations when there are genuine concerns and find out how they can be resolved from both ends. When each individual is able to stay healthy and able to continue work as usual, both the individual and in turn the organization benefit from it and are able to make the most of these testing times.

These are unusual circumstances for everyone. Organizations and employees need to work in tandem with each other and share a trust-based relationship to ensure business functionality performs well. Technological advancement should be leveraged at all possible opportunities to create an ecosystem that allows for seamless employee interaction and work. The concerns of data security and data integrity should not be taken lightly and everyone needs to adhere to business processes diligently to ensure there are no long-term mishaps that occur in this duration. At the same time, the human aspects of the circumstance should be taken into account and flexibility should be provided to ensure employee wellness. The digital solutions required for this need to be made robust.

Remote working is the need of the hour and it will only be effective when everyone involved takes up the onerous task of ownership and holds themselves accountable and contributes towards ensuring organizational survival.

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