The devastating COVID-19 pandemic will always leave a permanent imprint on every individual as one of the pivotal turning points. Who would have thought a virus could cripple the entire world just as we marked the start of a new decade. It forced many companies to close their doors or look for new ways to run their businesses. Those who choose the latter option have taken the online route facilitated by the various cloud services.
The work culture as we knew it before the pandemic is no longer valid, at least until the time when there is a good cure, or maybe even after that. Working from home is the new normal, and workers worldwide are now struggling to cope with this disruptive change in our lives.
Like the employer who brought the entire business online, you might think your employees are safe and enjoying a good work-life balance. It is right, and there is no doubt up to a point, but this is just one side of the coin. The other aspect matters in the various challenges your employees face while in their virtual workspace, hampering their working experience.
In this article, I will highlight some of these issues which require your immediate attention to keep your staff in this time of unfortunate.
1. Feeling of isolation
Even though your employees are virtually connected to their colleagues, they miss the human connection. We all have certain limits that allow us to bond with our friends and colleagues using online platforms. And since everyone is now dealing with multiple things at once, it’s tough to catch up with the team to spend time with informal chats.
As such, they eventually develop a sense of isolation, which negatively affects their morale at work. Hence, the same also poses a threat to their mental well-being as they don’t have peers or friends to exchange views. So, as a responsible employer, you should not afford to ignore this issue. To avoid the feeling of isolation, there are several steps you can take various measures to monitor your employees individually from time to time or to organize virtual team-building activities to encourage them to do better every day.
2. Bad communication
Inappropriate communication is one of the strengths that often make work nearly impossible and frustrating. Of course, anyone would be sick if they didn’t get the right information on time or are continually dealing with connection issues that hinder their communication. Therefore, communication methods with remote employees need to be re-evaluated to keep them connected during working hours.
Several cloud-based project management tools are now available that allow you to maximize the level of collaboration between your teams irrespective of their location. These tools help track the progress of individual employees or groups and enable them to communicate only within the platform to operate more efficiently.
Moreover, to speed up the communication regime between your home-working employees, you can create online groups where everyone can express their doubts or even enjoy casual conversations that would keep everyone on the light side.
3. Withdrawal from work
Another problem related to virtual working is that you don’t know how the mental and emotional state is going. If they are around, you can see if they have any problems. However, now that everyone is behind the scenes, it is nearly impossible to tell if they are doing well or need help from their superiors or colleagues.
The only way to check for this problem is to conduct employee engagement surveys frequently. By organizing such surveys, you can know what is going on in your employees’ minds and the things they want you to tackle so that they are happy with their job and have confidence in their employers.
4. Deferred appreciation and recognition
Delayed recognition is recognition refused.
This applies a lot to the virtual workspace environment where everyone is occupied submitting their reports or outputs on time without acknowledging their efforts. You could go up to your office employees and appreciate them for work, but this often gets lost in the virtual workspace. Plus, the real impact of your employee recognition is only visible when it’s instantaneous – that is, right after they’ve done something right. Therefore, you need to have proper employee recognition and reward system where you can instantly acknowledge their efforts and, at the same time, motivate them with special recognition and compensation.
5. Working overtime
The culture of virtual work has disrupted normal working hours, and no one can deny it. This problem existed even before, but it has worsened with employees being overwhelmed by more and more work in the current circumstances. Employees who work now practically do not have an adequate work schedule and cannot maintain their work-life balance. Therefore, you need to encourage and help your employees maintain a fixed schedule to efficiently do their jobs. You can supervise them with a flexible schedule that will help your employees deal with overtime with ease.