Currently, the internet is flooded with opinions about the outcomes of remote working conditions post pandemic. Many surveys have been hinting at the gains organizations are experiencing, and the stats are quite interesting. Though there are surveys which reveal remote working environments help increase productivity, that’s just one side of the pie. Because many of the studies were conducted either during pre-pandemic times or just a year after the pandemic, we do not have an established, extensive and consistent taste of the actual scenario.  

A study by Upwork estimates that about 36 million Americans will go remote by 2025. Another study by the Bureau of Labour Statistics reveals that currently at least 25% of employees across US are either working from home or involved in part time work. Going by the current wave, the number of people who will join this soaring remote workforce will only rise. Amid such an influx of remote employees and work environments, the mantle now is on Human Resource (HR) teams to provide concrete directions and strategies to ensure a smooth and productive workflow and improve work culture 

HR teams now need to tighten their belts and plot at immediacy to consolidate an otherwise erupting tide. Below are a few ways they can help enhance the functioning of the post pandemic world as employees and productivity take centre stage.  

1) A Tangible Connection 

A work manager connects regularly with their employee to ensure work is progressing and ultimately gets done. They do this by not only communicating constantly but also effectively to the employee. 

So, what does it really mean for an HR team to maintain that tangible connection with their employees during remote conditions? The answer is the purpose itself should be tangible! HR teams need to think, understand and deliver for their employees’ needs, welfare or issues that they might encounter when working remotely. This simply requires prioritizing the employees which can be done by   

a) Driving measures so employees can have seamless access to organizational tools and resources for better productivity.

b) Setting up communication mediums that define how a worker can reach out for any concerns or communicate at any time of work (A Unified Communications Model that encompasses various communication functions, from audio-video meetings, unified and instant messaging, web-based conferencing to mobility driven communications) can work wonders.

c) Ensuring a backend tech team is always on the go for any glitch or issue experienced by the worker. 

    2) Where Budget Proves as a Constraint 

    Not all organizations have the luxury of an expansive budget and due to this, a company may miss out on the latest technologies or sophistications that would run the current show. HR can fill the dearth of technological sophistication by being innovative in its approach by implementing and regularizing   

    a) The right set of productivity tools that enhance employee productivity. 

    b) Hyper personalized online training programs that upskill and reskill employees.

    c) Online Digital Learning Platforms that aid in work-based learning.

    d) Setting high standards by meeting the ergonomic necessities like that of an office setup at levels inside a remote employee’s workplace. 

    3) Keeping an Eye on DEI 

    In remote or hybrid work environments, equity and well-being of employees many a time go unrecognized. As the stats say,  close to 76% of work managers are of the opinion that on-site employees have more chances of getting appraisals or promotions as compared to employees working remotely. Issues of gender-based suppression may also go unnoticed, though not always deliberately. Such disparities though unintentional, may only grow to worsen organizational repute and structure. HR managers can play a big role in pre-assessing such situations and drive in measures that avert negative DEI outcomes, ultimately contributing for an equitable and sustainable  workplace. 

    4) Employee Engagement and Recognition 

    Though it needs no statistics or explanation to establish the fact that a happy workforce is always a more productive one, when the workforce is remote it really needs to sink in that the chances of getting disconnected or being reclusive are more. To avert such scenarios, HR teams can   

    a) Construct monthly programs to drive “Happy Hours”, “Bi-Weekly Fun Days”, “Learn About Your Colleague” to explore the other side of their talents and skills.

    b) Facilitating in-person off sites/meetups occasionally is a great way to make them feel they are important, and give them an opportunity to unwind from non-socializing conditions.

    c) Accolading and rewarding employees at timely intervals is crucial. 

    5) Maintaining a Keen Organizational Eye 

    Remote work environments may also bring in paranoidal situations for employers as to what else could their employees be engaged at. Chances of data compromise, security risks and compliance issues may rise up. HR practices should include configuring and subscribing all employees and their systems to relevant data protection laws applicable to their vicinity.  

    The role of HR teams historically has evolved from aligning talent, refining tools and capabilities that drive business strategies, embracing and driving employee engagement programs while giving shape to organizational values to battling a new set of challenges post pandemic. As it stands, HR has now evolved to become the brain cells of an organization that direct and emanate organized and healthy functioning, and it stands crucial given the remote work setup is here to stay.

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