By C K Subramaniam
Work place spirituality is a novel concept with potentially strong relevance to the well being of individuals, organisations and societies. The common problems faced by most of the corporates are stress, absenteeism, organisational politics, and absence of team work and so on. Large numbers have been struggling with anxiety, depression and lack of motivation. Going back to work will trigger a huge range of emotions. Many with existing health conditions are reluctant to regroup until vaccines are dished out. Work is worship and we Indians just touch the entrance of the office before starting the work in right earnest.
The spontaneous and unannounced mass remote working trial shone a blinding spotlight on unprepared businesses. When the tide goes out you see who’s lost their swimming trunks, who’s been working out and who’s wearing their wife’s knickers all will come in open. IT teams were flooded with requests to configure remote systems. Hardware sold out. Software took some getting used to, but all in the entire imposed home office project has generally been hailed as a huge step forward for work place. This is largely dependent on the worker’s home situation and individual roles of course. Some staff are not permitted to access sensitive data externally, not all jobs can be done remotely especially from the Banking sector where the client’s details are to be kept secret and not revealed outside.
Social distancing at work place
Social distancing will be the part and parcel of a future working in India. This sets new limits on workplace capacity: bums on seats. Facility managers and consultants are frantically re planning offices, reducing numbers and marking out spacing with sticky tape. More needs to be done, but a return to desk cubicles isn’t the answer. The uniqueness of the current situation is that nobody has a definitive answer for how to work through the post lockdown / pre-vaccine period. Management must engage with employees to agree on a way – and be prepared to change tactics if needed.
Employer responses to staff fears will come under the microscope. The big losers in the next 12-18 months will be firms that ignore corona concerns raised by their team, dismiss home office requests and fail to consider staff anxiety. Businesses with short term views will lose out too long term strategists. Now is the time to buy loyalty with empathy to retain your best assets. It is time to enhance trust among people with an increased disconnectedness. Moreover, motivated organisational culture leading to better organisational performance in future. At the same time, there should be job satisfaction. We should cultivate a renewed community sense and positive outlook for maximum output.
Management should be visible with regular team meetings to deal with problems and concerns. Human emotion, empathy, open-minded communication and understanding have to take the lead. Employees with fears and anxieties should be supported in order to feel safe at work. Businesses need to be flexible with their staff. The office does not represent work itself, presenteeism is dead. The uniqueness of the current situation is that nobody has a definitive answer for how to work through the post lockdown / pre-vaccine period. Management must engage with employees to agree on a way and be prepared to change tactics if needed. There lies the real success in the post Coronavirus scenario.