Remember when you walked into your 1st interview (Yes, you the HR), and the most important thing that mattered to you was how the office looked, the canteen, people, and everything about the surrounding. Even before getting into the interview room, you probably made up your mind ‘I want to / I am not sure if I want to work here!’ You performed better or with doubt as to if you were the one interviewing the interviewer based on your outlook of the office environment while waiting in the lobby.
That’s a while back, and you probably in your back to back interview meetings, payroll, PMS, training initiatives, and everything else (even before the pandemic), missed to notice (not on purpose, but because of ‘busyness’) how ambience makes a difference to how an employee works. If you wanted to put the importance of ambience on productivity on steroids, it’s called ‘Work From Home’ For 15 Months!
A 24-year-old sitting in his 2 story house with 6 rooms, parents, and maids can adjust smoothly with the A/C on, and work from home is all set. Think about a family man with a 300 sq ft house with 5 people, and 1 laptop?
Dear HR, we can’t think of work from home the same way: Currently, if you have 500 employees, you have 500 office locations each with a different set up-We ought to Customize Work From Home shall it continue or return!-It’s maybe not fair, maybe on the same rules for everyone, but it’s the right thing to do. Here are some practical solutions:
- KYF Policy: Ensure to have a ‘Know Your Family’ policy to know how many family members are with an employee, how many laptops and smartphones are there, how the house is structured so you can suggest the best productive schedule of a particular employee, or maybe even get some grants to assist. Have you made one?
- Don’t Discount Phone Calls: Zoom/video calls aren’t everything-In fact sometimes, they are simply annoying because someone or the other is losing bandwidth, or someone by mistake has his/her audio go unmute, and while you are talking, everybody starts to hear weird background noises. Sometimes, good old phone calls in smaller groups are more than enough.
- Plan For Office Days: Some companies have discounted coming back to office till September/October’21 because they want to protect the health of their employees. With you. But, coming back to the office has its advantages on mental health that we forgot in fear. Remember the ambience, the coffee machine, the meeting rooms, the computer systems, and the lawn: Think again about your work from home policies because once in a while it doesn’t hurt being in the office; in fact, it’s mental healing!
- The Forgotten Offsite: Yes, you may not have budgets; and this idea might sound crazy to you right now: But, not every offsite has to be glorified. Would it hurt if once in a month while working from home you all met for a 2-day low budget offsite with proper hygiene checks? Maybe it’s the team bonding vaccine that will increase WFH productivity. What do you think?
In summary, think between the lines: Understand what drives human productivity and mental health both externally and internally; not either-or, and not in fear. You didn’t have vaccinations last year; I get it: But now you do. Earlier, people and companies had to pay, now the government is paying. It’s time you realized you are a HUMAN RESOURCE, not a payroll resource. It’s time you invented customized work from homes and office policies which you as an HR know more than your CEO because that’s your job, not his/hers.