Column: Will homework come? – WeForNews
There is a lot of deliberation among HR developers, CEOs and corporate consultants on the long-term viability of the shift to ‘work from home’ mode imposed by the Covid fallout across the business spectrum.
The initial convergence between employers and employees on this point was due to fear of losing business for the company and fear of laying off the workforce. Subsequently, the change in methodology drew the attention of commercial establishments to the promise of profitability that seemed to be looming on the horizon, with the employee also seeing in the new practice some freedom from the daily hassle of “preparing”. “, To” travel “and” go “to the office. Add to that the flexibility of working hours reducing the boredom of the fixed routine.
However, this turned out to be a transitory benefit for both parties, as the assessment of productivity that determined profitability ran into question marks. The legal person could immediately assume the one-off expense of fitting out a workstation at the employee’s home – in any case it was only a matter of providing the employee with a laptop and a mobile phone – but the threefold challenge of maintaining monitoring and supervision, ensuring team spirit through remote communications and maintaining the required level of work efficiency, seemed to become daunting for management.
A theoretical construct that works at home away from the din of the head office allowed for better concentration and therefore a better return per unit of time turned out to be only a deduction, as a feeling of carelessness and complacency developed. among many workers denied this logic. .
We see that working from home is becoming a preferred option for those in the lower half of the organizational pyramid, to which a large part of the “conformists” in any establishment belong – they are happy with the pay they get. they get in an easy work situation where an elderly person is also not physically on the head. This trend has been reported in the advanced countries of the West.
In a business organization, policy makers and strategic planners constitute a relatively small top and the rest of the top half of the aforementioned pyramid is overly burdened with upper echelons, which do not necessarily have a direct role in setting policy. , but earn their place by pretending to be the supervisors and mentors of the masses who report to them.
A sequel to Covid is that a lot of pressure has grown to make the organization ‘flat’ and reduce the vertical hierarchy to allow delegation of decision making to the leaders below, who now work in a widely dispersed format.
As a result, middle-segment seniors would now be exposed to the greatest challenge of accountability, as they themselves would have to act as ‘team leaders’ and would therefore be required to know their men much closer than before. .
They must demonstrate adequate emotional intelligence to cope with their people in an environment of all-around distress created by the Covid emergency. In a way, however, this must on the whole lead to an improvement in efficiency, which could be seen as a ‘gift’ from the disastrous pandemic.
Covid has certainly led to an “evolution” in management – its strands can be identified – and since evolution is always a positive phenomenon, it is not surprising that a win-win “hybrid” working model has emerged. install and be quickly accepted. by all businesses and other organizations.
The shift to “working from home” has come more easily to computer-based businesses, but it has complemented the boom in digitization and online communication and consultation in general, which has had the effect of modernizing supply chain, production and delivery systems.
The products and services, however, both faced increased pressure from quality control as customers – impatient with the physical restrictions imposed by the pandemic – demanded full satisfaction from the first contact with this supplier and tended to write off this. source if the quality was defective.
The fact that online retail businesses have generally grown is testament to the healthy competition for quality that they are voluntarily faced with in their efforts to maintain the advantage.
A second advance – apart from the question of quality – is the reaffirmation of the principle of the modern enterprise which said that “the individual was at the center of all productivity”. Human resource managers need to realize the new importance of upgrading skills and retraining to get the best results from the existing workforce.
The induction of technology-assisted production, distribution and promotion, but the formulation of strategy which has become a test of both knowledge and intellect, has remained exclusively a call to leadership because it demanded swift human responses to any eventuality, including a decision on a possible course correction made necessary by the faster pace of change in all facets of the business.
The third transformational difference attributable to the aftermath of Covid is the rise of entrepreneurship and startups, due to the opportunities that the changing business environment presented to those with ideas and insight into what would work in the new equation. -request. This is the path to growth opened up by the Covid crisis. Young people who start their own businesses are becoming a forerunner and, since it is rooted in new knowledge and initiatives, it will continue into the future.
Three workplace issues relate to record keeping, information security, and establishing a consistent benchmark for performance. Decisions made in virtual meetings should be centrally recorded and made available to remote site employees online so they can get work done.
Where “production” is also dispersed, “segments” of the “factory” would increasingly be identified with individual workers or artisans and special methods of coordination between them would have to be worked out by management.
‘Supervision’, in the process, would become an arduous task and no longer a cushy function. In organizations that needed to keep their operational information confidential, employees working online should be specially trained in security and reminded of the importance of keeping hard drives and keys under lock and key and following login checks and keys. password protection exercises. for sure.
At the head office, the security unit may need to be reinforced. The performance appraisal of seniors should be based on their more in-depth personal knowledge of the hands that work for them. This is vital as the needs of employees constrained by health contingencies in the family, including a sudden request for a change in schedule, may need to be met.
The availability of seniors online at staggered hours is as important as the summons of the employee for a task outside the fixed hours. Covid has bolstered India’s theory of ‘maternal paternal management’ which, unlike Western capitalist thinking, calls for an empathetic boss-subordinate relationship even beyond the workplace.
In fact, it is the assessment of the performance of “seniors” by the top of the company that must become strict – in the light of these new criteria of judgment which apply to them.
In the United States and India, the hybrid model of combining physical presence in the office and working from home has been made functional from a long-term perspective, but for higher levels of the organization, being in the head office becomes a challenge. necessity – again in the interest of a successful policy and strategy.
In-person deliberations have no substitute for macro-planning – board meetings do not fulfill their role in a virtual format. The evolution of the practice would encourage the return of managers to the head office with a certain number of accompanying persons also present there in person.
This should go with a planned mix of other employees into “teams” working from the office or home in the best interests of productivity. With additional Corona virus mutants appearing in parts of the world, there is no escaping very strict adherence to appropriate Covid behaviors, including masking, social distancing, and hand sanitization, for the foreseeable future. This adds to the viability of working from home as a long term business strategy.
An important result of the Covid crisis is the adoption of some of these hybrid practices also by the government and the delineation they have caused – for improved performance at all levels – between decision-makers or policy makers and the workforce that mainly implements these orientations. .
The ministries of health, infrastructure development and the interior have, in the process, asked their senior officials to also manage governance at the micro level, to ensure policy execution, which is a welcome development – even though the middle and lower segments of the employees continue to work in the appropriate hybrid mode.
In Narendra Modi’s regime this came from above and that is why, amid the unprecedented challenge of pandemic, health care management, immunization and economic recovery could be taken care of quickly and efficiently.
Covid called for disaster management, with the Center being the national authority to manage it, and a valuable result of this has been steady progress towards cooperative federalism despite the historic legacy of developing political conflict between the Center and the States on almost all political questions. It is a precious gain that must be preserved for the future.
(The author is a former director of the Bureau of Intelligence. The opinions expressed are personal)