Everywhere in the print and electronic media, you see the headers like “What to Do in Times of Crises”, “How Did the Crisis Change the Economy”, and “Business Continuity Plans”. Businesses everywhere are responding to this new reality we have all found ourselves in.
We at HRForecast decided to have a look at the current situation from the people’s point of view, i.e. as employees. And it tells a different story than the headlines.
So, what are the employees’ essentials in times of crisis and uncertainty?
1. Skills and working methods shift
In unstable times it is important to feel personal and professional growth — both as an employer and an employee. Hence, you must accelerate this development through e-learning and digital training. Even at the home office one can (and must) learn plenty of digital business tools, e.g. MS Teams.
As a company in crisis, continue to invest in skills in order to emerge from the crisis stronger. Of course, you must reassess the current situation from week to week and act quickly and agilely from the company’s point of view. It encourages a fast and agile reaction to the crisis.
Thoughts shared by: Andreas Hamsen, Director Business Development
2. Working ethics: remember about privacy and overworking
Along with the added stress on managers, the extension of work to an individual’s home raises significant legal and employment concerns around the balancing of worker privacy and safety rights with organizational data security.
The other point is that the people need the manager’s support is a commitment to their tasks planning. To prevent yourself from working longer hours when in lockdown or home office (whatever) the employees must either be able toset strict boundaries or be given specific to-dos to only focus on the primary tasks. Otherwise, anxiety and exhaustion will become permanent affiliates, which will only harm.
Thoughts shared by: Anonymous, Top Manager
Law firm, USA
3. Self-time-management and gender differences in working attitudes
A very fascinating observation we made is the difference in attitude towards working from home between male and female workers! The former think it gives more independence and reduces commuting stress, whereas the latter are more likely to report social costs, e.g. reduced mutual learning, loss of visibility and career development and less likely to report positive benefits from telework, e.g. enhanced concentration, reduced commuting stress, feeling safer at home.
Thoughts shared by: Anonymous, Magazine redactor, France
4. Remote office: what is an opportunity for ones is a failure for others
The coronavirus is causing more people to work from home than ever before. E.g. previously, only around 7% of U.S. workers regularly worked from home. These were the “knowledge workers” such as executives, IT managers, financial analysts and accountants and people who do most of their work on computers who have access to telework and, by the way, they could tend to be the highest-paid. Besides, telework is more common in the private sector than in state and local governments.
To sum it up, we were not ready for that remote boom, but we all will soon accommodate this and reap the benefits.
Thoughts shared by: Anonymous, Banker, USA
5. Support for the financial, physical, and psychological wellbeing
Three aspects are vital for an employee in the times as now. Firstly, communication as the basis of relationships; secondly, identification with the company that must be maintained in order to not feel isolated; thirdly, maintaining the work-life balance.
Thoughts shared by: Jens Winterhoff, Growth Catalyst
6. Be careful with expectations
All I think about crises is that they happen (local, global, political, economic, environmental, etc.). You need to be flexible, think critically, learn lessons, move on. Everything will be fine (but this is not for sure).
I understand that an employer in a critical situation will primarily think about business, not you. Though, it’s nice to be appreciated. I try to be careful with expectations because they often lead to disappointment.
Thoughts shared by: IT Specialist, Serhii Vladymyrov
7. Keep informed and stay tuned
Covid-19 has brought to life many conversations that did not happen before. Naturally, this is uncharted territory for all. In times of uncertainty, such as this, it is paramount that there is an open conversation amongst the company, both at a management level and an individual level.
For the management, it is imperative that employees understand where the company stands in the light of whatever uncertainty it has encountered. Not letting employees in on the wider picture creates a feeling of disconnect from the company and general anxiety.
On an individual level, especially in times of uncertainty, you must connect even more with your employees. As such, daily standups, all-hands calls, and the like become even more important to keep your employees engaged.
Thoughts shared by: CTO, Atabak Hafeez
8. Stay connected (not only to the Internet)
Primarily, I value an opportunity to work. During the 2 weeks of hotel isolation in Shanghai, I couldn’t even imagine how would I deal with myself if there wasn’t an issue I have to deal with. Furthermore, it is no less important for me to maintain connections with my colleagues. Nowadays we all should keep contact, push not just only “work-related” calls but stay tuned about each other’s situation.
Thoughts shared by: IT Specialist, Anton Shapovalov
9. Bilateral working environment
Not only an employee has some expectations from his/her employer in the time of the crisis but also an employer has every right to demand results from the workers.
For that, the first party requires honest direct communication along with a stable environment and positive collective culture despite the rough time. In turn, the other party demands a real value-add from the workforce, including honesty, perseverance (maintaining the positive outlook despite the unfavorable circumstance) and positive work engagement
Thoughts shared by: Insight Manager, Ammar Alkhatib
10. Mutual trust and further development
A crisis leads to fear and insecurity for most people. “If my job is still there tomorrow”, “the company will survive the crisis”. Therefore it is essential to gather as much information as possible about the current status. It is very important that the information is openly communicated.
In crises, trust is one of the most important currencies. It is therefore important that decisions or directions are not constantly changed. Otherwise, this will lead to a state of shock. The standstill in decisions leads to even more uncertainty.
In a crisis, one can choose between two directions. One direction is to do nothing wrong and wait and hope that it will pass. While the majority of companies and people choose this way, others go on the offensive.
Crises create space for change and further development at once. While everyone is on the hard shoulder, these companies manage to catch up and overtake on the free middle lane. It is often said that in a crisis the true leadership qualities come to light.
Now, all of a sudden you have to not only manage but quickly find solutions, make decisions, calm down and be strong as a team despite fears.
Thoughts shared by: CEO, Florian Fleischmann
So, what’s the line on this?
The real values for the employees worldwide appeared to be:
- An effective response to the pandemic when remaining accommodating and supportive.
- Coordination of actions when needed.
- Split team arrangements.
- Feeling of flexibility in working methods and hours.
- Support for the financial, physical, and psychological wellbeing.
- Regular communication: being listened to, being heard, and informed first.
- Training for online collaboration.
- Closing the skill gaps.
- Focus on the tasks that truly matter.
- Making use of the leaders.
HR is a key player at the crisis management table
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