Business101: How to stay positive and adjust to the new normal
By Ben Bierman
JOHANNESBURG - Working from home has become a new reality for many office workers.
While this is a necessary measure to combat the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace, it can impact a company culture.
A recent survey by one of South Africa’s largest workplace consultancies showed that 70 percent of people missed the general social interactions of the office, with 85 percent saying that they missed the “colleague interaction”.
Businesses therefore need to work on creating a positive culture that employees can revel in remotely.
This can be done by:
It is important to keep every employee in the loop by providing regular updates in as much a transparent way as possible given the high levels of uncertainty and anxiety across the board. Such communication must include updates on Covid-19, its impact on operations and how the business is responding. It is essential that businesses create virtual spaces to encourage open communication.
While working from home can feel isolating, creating a strong sense of community is vital for maintaining employee well-being and productivity. With in-person team socials out of the question – aside from socially distanced hikes or outdoor activities – businesses need to implement virtual social events in the workplace. Virtual quizzes have proven to be particularly popular over lockdown. The options are endless from virtual exercise to dance classes.
If the business has, for example, bought a cake on an employee’s birthdays or celebrated key milestones in a particular way, it’s important to continue these traditions virtually where possible. Businesses can get a cake delivered to their employees’ homes and have a quick video call where everybody sings and sends their wishes.
Likewise, when someone resigns, it is important to still acknowledge their time at the company like you would have “in office” by sending out a company-wide email or calling a quick virtual get-together where everyone can say their goodbyes.
As more workplaces reopen their (physical) doors, many are predicting that working from home will become a more permanent feature of the workplace environment going forward.
Businesses should therefore embrace this change and put the work in early on to create a strong company culture that would weigh against a disengaged workforce.
Bierman is a managing director at Business Partners Limited.