Homeworking In Times Of The Coronavirus
Not all companies and economic sectors have the opportunity to offer home working. However, as much as possible, more and more companies are trying to enable their employees to work from home to prevent infections caused by the COVID-19. But this is an additional challenge that has to take different aspects into account. We invite you today to think about it with us.
Winston Churchill noted that he was not concerned about the action, but was actually worried about the inaction. Regardless of whether the challenge is economic, military or social, we must have the ability to accept it and face the changes. Homeworking in times of the coronavirus has quickly become a reality in many countries. We have to be prepared and take various measures to deal with it.
Of course, not all professions and jobs can be done from home. But large areas are practically forced to promote and increasingly offer homeworking in the next few weeks. Is this a threat? Is it all scaremongering? Not at all, large companies are already assuming that the next step has become a necessity and that homeworking should not only be seen as a precautionary measure.
In our modern society, interdependence is very great. The already classic metaphor of the butterfly effect describes very well the current situation we are experiencing. What happens in a completely different place in the world affects everyone else.
What is going on in one country’s productive and entrepreneurial sphere affects other countries and sectors. The job market is not an island, but a complex network, similar to a spider web. When an area is shaken, the whole structure moves.
Therefore it is necessary to act together, with responsibility, empathy and intelligence. If homeworking is introduced by many organizations and companies, others will also take this step. But this is a big challenge, but it can also achieve very positive results in the future. We take a closer look at the situation.
The coronavirus or COVID-19 spreads rapidly, but has far more consequences than just a normal viral disease. It has major consequences for the economy, the world of work, tourism, education and of course especially for the health sector.
When there is a threat of this nature and the resulting uncertainty is the best answer, act together and implement the measures recommended by experts. We have to trust that we can meet this challenge.
However, this compulsively means that various changes are necessary to reduce the risks as far as possible and to slow the spread of the infection . That is why many companies choose to work from home.
China was the leader in this strategy. Not only were several million cities closed here. Many companies have also increasingly switched to homeworking, using video conferencing and email.
The rest of the world also reacts in this way. The experiences we are currently experiencing are as follows:
The experiment of homeworking: The companies react
Homeworking in the age of the coronavirus shows us that we are able to face this challenge. But we may still lack experience.
The biggest problem that we currently have is a very hard-to-control variable, namely the fear. It means that many companies choose homeworking from one day to the next.
- Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, CNN, Citigroup, Ford and Twitter have run simulations with their employees to test the work from home. This forced them to activate emergency protocols intended for such situations. However, they also found that there are still many weaknesses that need to be updated.
- Many companies have sent their employees home to clean and disinfect the offices.
- Personal interviews are already partially forbidden. Until recently, about 20 percent of job interviews were conducted via video conferencing, but for some companies this is already the only way.
- The largest advertising agency in Japan has already chosen homeworking.
- In Northern Italy, the largest focus with the most coronavirus infected people in Europe, all in quarantine, work is forcibly promoted from home.
- Business trips were restricted. Most of the conferences, congresses and international trade fairs were canceled. One way to keep communication going and get cross-border corporate feedback is through teleconferencing.
Homeworking: More than just working from home
We know that not every profession or company has the option of letting employees work from home. Doctors, nurses and other nursing professions belong to the most vulnerable group and they have to bear very special responsibility and great stress these days.
On the other hand, it is fundamental for the economy to maintain work in other sectors such as trade, transport, agriculture, etc., to guarantee supply and to enable everyone to live a normal life. But those companies that have the opportunity to offer homeworking should definitely take this step.
The goal is simple: this is to limit the number of infected people. It is also important to act in accordance with other companies that also offer work from home. But how can this be realistically implemented? What challenges await us if we want to make homeworking a reality in times of the coronavirus?
Which strategies have to be considered?
There is much more to it than just working from home. For example, specific protocols, strategies and follow-ups are required. In addition, we must not forget the current context of COVID-19, so the following factors must also be taken into account:
- Homeworking is associated with special working conditions that every worker should know.
- The E-Leader is a leading figure who takes over the organization of telework, develops, controls and evaluates it.
- Virtual teams have to be formed, which have goals and specific guidelines that they fulfill at a distance with work colleagues and bosses.
- It is also important to create tools to analyze progress and evaluate the results achieved.
- Moreover, this is time management fundamentally. The work of each individual and in the team must be organized accordingly.
- The worker must be able to separate his family’s private life from his professional life.
- It is also necessary to promote skills such as motivation, responsibility, creativity, distance communication, trust, loyalty, etc. in this new work style .
Transparency in communication and empathy as everyday resources
Finally, we would like to mention that companies such as Amazon, Uber or Microsoft point out one detail: Homeworking increases fear of the virus because false rumors and ideas spread quickly. Therefore, these companies have started to create a department that is only responsible for sending memoranda.
The idea is to report on all the steps the company takes: cleaning the offices, restrictions on business trips abroad, number of employees actually infected, etc. The aim is to avoid panic and possible fears about layoffs, closings, etc. to prevent. Transparency creates trust. Empathic communication builds stronger bonds within the organization.
In a nutshell: homeworking is a reality in times of the coronavirus. If we learn from this experience and do our best together, we will emerge stronger. Now is the time to act with confidence and be proactive.