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How will long-term Work-From-Home impact innovation, collaboration and mental health?

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The large-scale disruptions unleashed by Covid-19 has foisted upon us a never-before-seen new normal. The enormous impact of the pandemic was globally felt as it compelled organizations to opt for the Work-From-Home (WFH) model aimed at protecting their workers’ health as well as ensuring their businesses do not suffer.

WFH Challenges

WFH drives several positives to the fore – it substantially saves employee commuting time, improves work-life balance as well as accelerates employee productivity as there is a certain degree of comfort in logging in from home. However, WFH has its share of challenges in terms of distractions – children seeking your attention during your work time/meetings, household responsibilities, etc something you won’t find in office space. There is also no end to your work timings in a remote working environment as your work can get extended beyond your scheduled work timings.

The Covid-19-induced WFH model has thrown up one question – what will be the long-term impact of WFH on innovation and collaboration? The prolonged periods of remote working meant that those animated in-person brainstorming sessions and collaborations usually witnessed in office space have become a thing of the past. Of course, one cannot deny that the human element – an intrinsic part of a working environment has been sorely missing. Clearly, the absence of physical interaction, technical issues (slow internet connection), anxiety, etc have taken a toll on employee productivity.

Supportive Remote Working Environment

Organizations are doing everything possible to support workers in a virtual working setup. The absence of physical or face-to-face interaction is an impediment to employee collaboration and innovation. Office space interactions allow for critical cues that are not possible in a remote working setup. This is where technology will be a key enabler in fostering collaboration in WFH arrangement. One cannot overlook the importance of Video Conference (VC) in the prevailing WFH environment. Of course, remote VCs can never serve as substitutes for physical or face-to-face interactions. The need of the hour for organizations is to embrace a supportive working culture in a remote working model by focusing on employee creativity that drives innovation and translates into a game-changing idea. As per various industry studies, WFH employees are unlikely to be any less innovative than employees working from the office.

Remote working makes it imperative for organizations to augment employee stress-buster programs and this is where HR departments of organizations must encourage unwinding-filled fun events and other non-work-related projects that enable employees to beat their day-to-day stress and stay fresh for new challenges.

Long-Term Feasibility of WFH

WFH has helped organizations to run their operations efficiently but the jury is still not out on the long-term feasibility of WFH. It is tough to say what kind of impact WFH will have on employee collaboration and productivity in the long run. Organizations on their part must stay vigilant and be supportive of their workers even as the world strives to wriggle out of Covid-19 and return to some semblance of normalcy.

  • Innover Team  |  December 15, 2020   |  

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