It’s been more than a year and a half since hundreds of millions of people have lived through lockdowns.
In fact, many have faced the abrupt shift to working remotely, and millions of employees even lost their jobs.
The future looks uncertain. We still have no clarity as to when our societies will return to normal – or if at all will we ever return to the normal.
Now, we have been well into the pandemic, and the advantages and limitations of remote work are clearer than ever.
The virus has broken through technological and cultural barriers that had earlier prevented remote work in the past, and we set in motion a structural shift in where work takes place.
Remote work has raised a variety of issues and challenges for employees and employers.
Companies are struggling to deliver coaching to employees remotely and configuring workspaces to enhance employee safety amongst a host of other thorny questions raised by COVID-19.
The shift to work from home has yielded an avalanche of insights and data into the technology employees are using to stay productive.
An Insight into Airmeet’s Workspace
Amidst the chaos resulting from the health scare, HR professionals say it is important for business leaders to take steps to help reduce feelings of isolation that employees experience when working remotely.
On that note, we got in touch with one of the leading start-up companies in India – Airmeet.
Airmeet is a near-to-real, exceptionally engaging virtual and hybrid events platform for organizations and communities that are looking to build a network and strengthen relationships year long by making connections real and contextual, from anywhere.
With 300+ employees in the company, the total funding amount of Airmeet is $15M.
Aishwarya Mohan from the Airmeet team gave us some interesting answers to the questions related to employee wellness and management. Here is some interesting part of our conversation.
How has the behavior of employees changed when working from home? Please let us know, both positive and negative changes.
While working from home has made employees more sincere and responsible towards their work, it’s very easy to get distracted, which leads to delayed and long working hours, which in turn results in stress and burnout.
Positive: I think people may be happier now considering they don’t have to spend time commuting (that was very frustrating), can work from their hometowns, and be around their families and pets.
Negative: Overworking and work burnout- I have personally seen friends who have started working on weekends or work overtime on weekdays because their customers/ stakeholders demanded it.
Is there a difference in the employee’s productivity and the possible reasons behind it?
Productivity definitely has increased as employees seem to be ready to give more time in order to complete their job at hand.
On the other hand, efficiency is decreasing as time passes in remote work, as the quality of work starts getting hampered when burnout comes into the picture.
Do all your employees have the tech and other essentials to work from home?
Yes, at Airmeet, we’re either providing resources or the funds for the employee to work efficiently without any blockers.
What about those “so-called” very important office meetings, the number of meetings decreased or not?
This is a major concern across diverse functions as, in a remote setting, it’s very hard to avoid online meetings, especially when there’s some priority task lined up or if one needs to collaborate with other teammates.
At Airmeet, yes, we have tried to minimize the meetings as much as possible, but work needs to be done, especially for sales, marketing, and tech functions.
What are the new challenges you’re facing to manage the team remotely?
According to me, keeping an employee engaged all the time is really challenging, as numerous factors are leading them in the other direction like fatigue, stress, miscommunication, none/improper recognition, etc.
Keeping them motivated, morally high without being able to be physically present, and working together in a closed space is a challenge.
What are the changes that you are experiencing in recruitment?
Candidates are more open to remote working as it means they can work from the comfort of their homes from any city of their choice.
Candidates are also receiving more offers than usual (data from one of the HR consultancies that whereas the avg offer to joiner ratio used to be 60-70% with product companies, it has now come down to 50%).
Candidates are more inclined towards remote working but expect a lot more compensation and benefits, especially health benefits, considering the current conditions of uncertainties as compared to the candidates who used to apply before the shift to remote working.
Also, as compared to before, candidates are more likely to turn down an employment offer. Lastly, a huge influx of candidate pool is currently in the market due to lay-offs during the pandemic, and hence a great opportunity for start-ups to tap into it.
What do you think in this pandemic, employee’s preferences and expectations from organizations changed?
Employees’ preferences have certainly changed, as the majority of them are inclined towards the remote environment and have made peace with it. This might be successful in the long run, provided that the companies make proper resources and work-life balance arrangements for the employees.
In my last year of experience, I feel employees’ expectations surprisingly have increased on the compensation front, but they also expect to work in an environment where preference is given to empathy, employee and their families’ well-being, flexible work hours, and other intangible benefits.
As suggested by Airmeet, many of the companies are facing challenges to keep their workforce engaged pertaining to employee fatigue, stress, improper employee recognition, etc.
While Airmeet also faces these challenges, they have discussed various ways of overcoming this. We believe that their suggestions can be explored and implemented by other organizations.
Even researches have revealed that though employee productivity is increasing, the efficiency of employees is decreasing.
It is evident that though most employees are set in their ways of working remotely, whereas some may require more time to get well-adjusted to the new normal.
Got employee management stories or workplace management case studies for us? Reach out to us and make your story heard!
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