In developed countries, the Work from Home (WFH) model started gaining attention in recent years, but things were not moving very fast in countries like India, China, etc. WFH was not even perceived as a mainstream method of working pre-COVID-19.
The pandemic compelled such companies to adopt WFH almost overnight, and to everyone’s surprise, it worked well enough. Now, almost a year has passed into the pandemic, infection and death rates are decreasing and vaccination drive is accelerating. The months of November and December saw a substantial workforce return to the office.
However, a large portion of the urban workforce is still working remotely. Companies are filtering out whom to call into the office and who can still WFH.
But they need to ensure some of these key points before calling their employees back to the workplace.
Companies must give utmost importance to employees’ health and well-being before asking them to return to the workplace to work and the same must be adequately demonstrated to put employees’ anxieties and other tensions at rest so that they can make a smooth transition without any fear.
When asking employees about returning to work, some degree of flexibility must be allowed, even if temporarily. If employees are expected to maintain the pre-Covid working hours strictly, it might backfire. Many employees might have children, who are at home or have other domestic responsibilities due to the pandemic impact. Some employees may not want to lose time during the peak hour commute. Allowing flexible working hours is likely to get a better reception from employees and simplify the transition.
Leaders must show empathy towards their employees. By constantly communicating, the connection will become stronger between the employer and the employee, which will boost everyone’s morale.
And don’t forget…
After achieving the above points, companies should not ignore the fact that the virus is still out there and employees have a family too. There can be some extra services provided to them such as non-traditional baby-sitting services, until schools reopen, companies’ commitment to ensure their well-being, and help in getting them back to the office.
But if companies can afford to continue their WFH policy, they should opt to do so until the dangers of the pandemic have completely receded.