Wfh is not easy
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2020 - 12:00am

What are some of the things you miss? I miss those seemingly endless speaking engagements wherein I would walk up the stage, wear my head-worn or lapel mic, give my presentation and then go down the steps, shake hands and take selfies with people. Those things are gone--at least for now. Will they be back? Of course, they would, and as a matter of fact, they are again but just in a different format. And it is now called “Webinars.”

My clients have been very gracious and most of them have been with me for many years. Cancelled events have now converted into webinars. And I am reaching out to many, and they have the facility now to ask me questions – I love the process. And I do this from home. This mode will be around for a while, and this is why I have invested in lights, sounds, and equipment and suffice it to say, loaded up to higher internet speed connection to assure clients that everything is prepared to achieve a “glitch less” presentation. Just because I am working from home does not negate the necessity for me to deliver excellence in serving my clients well.

Work from Home is the new norm and it is not easy. Clients now are requesting me to do online training on how to do remote work effectively, and as I have done quite a few over the ECQ months, I realized that people today have many challenges. Let me give you a few of these:

• Employers and Execs complain that many of their WFH people are not delivering results. One of them said, “They are not performing. Perhaps they think that Work From Home is a paid vacation. So, they are probably just watching a lot of Netflix, doing a lot of TikTok and playing video games all day.”

• Another company manager says: “Francis, you need to train our people on how to do WFH effectively. Many of our staff are working too hard, and they are quickly burning out. If this keeps up, they might even quit.”

• A prevalent complaint I have is that their bosses do not know how to manage their team virtually.

• Add to this is the fact that many employees with small kids are either working late at night only when they are in bed while others are waking up very early so they can have some silence with the hope that they can finish soon and guess what? They don’t!

Interestingly, many have been thrust to do work from home, and they never were prepared to do this. This massive adjustment in their lives can take a heavy toll on their well-being, especially if they do not know how to manage it correctly. If you are running the business and you are leading people, the question here is how you can accommodate your employees’ needs while still protecting your company culture and your team’s work-life balance?

Leaders should address this issue. Whether virtual townhalls or pre-recorded messages, the CEO should encourage people with the message that says something like: “I realize that this new norm of work has been hurled upon you and it requires a significant adjustment in your life. I appreciate all your hard work and effort. But I would also like to encourage you to take good care of yourself and your family. Your total well-being is important to the company, and we will do everything possible to support you.” Leaders should communicate this and mean it.

HR will have to provide clear working guidelines for communication channels. These are the guidelines that would remain with them even when people return to their physical offices. There is a huge possibility that a significant amount of people will now have to do WFH. This way, you are building a culture of trust and care for your people and one more thing, you need to train your managers on how to lead their virtual team. If managers do not know how to lead their teams online, then what happens is that their lack of skills would lead to a negative perception of your company culture, and the irony of this is that this does not take place on your company premises but in your people’s homes.

WFH is not easy. And just like any other thing we do, there are skills needed to do it effectively. And when the skills are there then one would say, “There is no place like... Home... Even when it’s also an office!”

(Bring your family, attend and take part in a live webinar via Zoom this July 8-9, “Raising Future Leaders - Values, Virtues and Attitude with Chinkee Tan, Nove Ann Tan and Francis Kong as they present winning ideas on Money Management, Online Education and Life Skills for Success. For further inquiries or registration email: om or contact April at 0928-559-1798 or Abby at 0917-533-6817.)

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