COVID-19 has not only impacted lives but has also put to test a company’s agility, efficiency, and organizational culture in a virtual environment. Remote work has become a new norm in this post-pandemic era, and HRs have a bigger role to play as they try to understand the new remote-work paradigm and transition smoothly.
Today, most companies have nailed the transition and ensured business continuity. However, to thrive in business and have a productive workforce, HRs have to constantly adapt an innovative approach towards their remote teams. But first, it’s crucial to grasp the various challenges faced within a remote-first organisation.
Challenges in managing virtual teams
Remote working means working in a low-context environment and this brings up a lot of misunderstandings in everyday work life. And some of these, if not managed well on time it can turn out catastrophic. As HRs for a remote organization, we have to proactively manage and improve communication among employees, partners and clients. Advocate the acceptable forms of communication platform and rules so that we don’t lose track of anything. Today employees are using at least 2 to 3 chat apps and work-related conversations are happening on all of the apps. To stem this practice, we can reinforce and direct the employees to use the official platform. It is also a requisite that team managers get in touch with the team to understand communication roadblocks. Talk through once a day or a couple of times a week and cooperatively devise solutions.
Remote work flexibility is one of the most sought out perks. Companies are encouraging flexible working but some are failing to address the repercussions it has, especially on smaller teams. There are teams, where it is possible to enable people to have an asynchronous working style, there are teams where it is not feasible.
HRs can’t be drafting a single framework for the entire organisation. HRs should be able to tailor leaves, rewards, and performance systems to specific teams because the demand for each team is different. Have certain core fundamentals that the company can operate on. However, HRs should do a lot of last-mile customization for teams to ensure that it’s an inclusive growth environment. If flexibility is not enabling efficient work because of dependency among teams, then specify collaboration timings or days or no meeting days. There’s no one solution! HRs have to engage with teams and evolve solutions to meet constantly changing needs.
How to ensure remote teams work productively?
Set goals early
People shouldn’t have any ambiguity in understanding what they are solving or working towards. Clear-cut goals, metrics and performance management is the first strategy HRs should focus on. It is up to the teams and their managers to customise it.
Stress on communication
From onboarding to regular check-ins regarding the processes, growth and results, a consistent communication strategy is required to keep the employees apprised. There is a lot of effort put into designing policies, programs and guidelines. The communication must reinforce and be tailored to all the teams.
Avenues to talk and listen
Be agile, empathetic and have open listening channels. The act on the feedback you receive sets the tone for your organization’s environment. 94% of workers are stressed, according to Forbes. It is fundamental to have team managers, HRs and management exercise empathy. Make it a safe space for employees to talk about vulnerabilities, anxiety, and anything that’s disrupting their work.
With remote working, we have invaded the private space of employees. It is necessary that remote-first organizations have a remote playbook made available for all. This makes it easy for managers and employees to not cross personal boundaries, understand what is acceptable and not in a remote environment.
How we roll at WazirX
WazirX became a remote-first organisation at the beginning of this year. Today, we are a strong team of 200 plus employees.
As an organisation, we wanted to focus on the holistic wellness of our employees which meant going above and beyond group health insurance. Employee wellness is a major contributing factor to organisational performance. Hence, we looked at the solutions and tools that we had at our disposal.
To make our employees comfortable and ensure their physical wellbeing at WazirX, we offer a home office setup kit with multiple items that help employees with ergonomics. We have a plethora of options as we understand that everybody’s home is different and their requirements are unique. The two common issues that employees working from home face are internet issues and electrical issues. We give laptops with good backup, UPS for modem and reimbursements for the internet so that their productivity is not compromised while working remotely.
We keep a check on our employees’ mental, emotional, psychological wellbeing and consistently indulge in activities to boost morale. We run pulse checks at the start of the quarter and a detailed survey at the end of the quarter. The outcomes are our action items to work in terms of policies or with specific managers or teams. We also bolster employees, have in-person conversations with HRs and team managers as at WazirX there is no stigma attached to mental issues.
Everything that we do to be an employee-first organisation has been integral to our business growth and success.
Sricharan is the Head HR at WazirX
Experienced Human Resources professional with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology industry. Skilled in Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Change Management, Team Building, Negotiation and HR Policies.