Article (June-2020)

Articles

It needs to be adopted in a structured way for long term gain

A Thirunavukkarasu

Designation : -   Management Consultant (HR&IR)

Organization : -   MNC, Chennai

01-Jun-2020

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How COVID-19 is going to impact the work of future and what can be the framework of work from home model?

AT Work from home where ever feasible, even beyond the domain of IT Companies is going to be the New Normal as long as the core purpose of the business is not diluted. If work from home is embraced as a reaction to the current COVID-19, then obviously it is a short term gain. If we start celebrating quick wins like reduction in office space rentals and travel cost, reduced attrition rate in general and especially improved retention of women workforce then it is going to be a medium term gain. The real long term gain is when companies do not dilute their customer obsession. When we plan to move in the above direction, in a structured way, post overcoming the current situation, then every process change must be started with end customer in mind and work backwards. This customer centricity alone will be the key differentiator and must never to be compromised for any of the short term or medium term gains.

Do you think that work from home has been a compulsive opportunity created by Covid for organisations during crisis? Can it be long term viable solution?

AT This no doubt is a creative problem solving approach. We are in general naturally good at solving the problems those lands on our table. But we need to develop as we progress in this direction, our ability for creative problem finding, which can lead us towards transformational innovations in Work - Life Integration rather than incremental improvements mentioned above.

How much remote working readiness has been achieved by Indian organisations and how workplace relationship will be redefined in such organisations?

AT Technology no doubt will enable us win the mind space and many organisations have already moved forward significantly in this direction. But what about winning the hearts? This is going to be the real crux.

What is important- 9 to 5 office work culture or work output? What organisations should do to ensure better productivity adopting work from home model?

AT One should not focus only on IT and allied industries and undermine the contribution of 24/7 continues process industries and shift working for nation building. No doubt indirect workforce even in these industries to a certain level can definitely work from home on rotation. We need to think beyond just out put but outcome of any process whether carried out from home or office. Organisations must develop an abundance mentality to get the best out of any change initiative such as WFH. Abundance mentality is nothing but our ability to confront the previously held beliefs. Thus if organisations by design encourage their top management to overcome their confirmation bias, then why just talk about WFH, we can work from anywhere.

What kind of problems and challenges will be faced in future and how HR should prepare to meet while implementing WFH?

AT Any change in process or way of working will naturally have its own plus and minus and organisational culture plays a vital role in making it as a success or failure, including the above wishful WFH if not approached holistically. No one solution fits all. Therefore, I strongly urge organisations to "Be Willing to Fail." This is the first step of building an experimentation culture. Where employees are encouraged to fail fast and learn from mistakes as well as success of others. Listening to the employees with empathy and designing the change process - co-create to be specific; can yield better results instead of cut-copy-paste from webinars.

What requires to be done in keeping virtual teams engaged and productive and bring sense of togetherness?

AT Expertise lead teams for content and rotational leadership for context will not only bring a sense of togetherness but outstanding results.

What can be the positive and negative effect of WFH on company work culture?

AT Organisational culture is nothing but collective behaviour of its employees. If WFH becomes an uncompromising organisational imperative, then the top management should focus on shaping its culture for a better tomorrow rather than having a narrowly view, whether how to ensure WFH fits into its culture. Time has come those organisations who want to pursue the above need to change their lens through which they are envisioning the future.

Can use of excessive technology to make WFH workable also bring the cyber and IPR threats to business organisations and how to mitigate such threats?

AT Nothing comes for free. Yes, unless appropriate risk mitigation process is in place, organisations venturing into WFH as a fashion statement will eventually pay a heavy price. As discussed earlier, if WFH needs to be embraced for long term value creation and inclusive growth, then let us start with the assumption of trusting employees first and involving them in co-creating the process which will to a great extent minimise the risk. Trust begets Trust. Equally, appropriate technology must be in place as a preventive measure. Organisational reputation is paramount and nothing can be allowed either by design or default to make even a small dent.