As we all know, in March 2020, India began its first lock down to fight the deadly corona
virus. Little did we know that, of the challenges India would face, working in the new
normal, would be something we would need to cope up with. Is home the new office now?
How are organizations managing and engaging employees efficiently?
After a series of interviews with 3 opinion leaders in the business and a comprehensive
study of employee engagement, we have collated insights on the importance reinventing
employee engagement, employee wellness, performance analysis of employees and more.


Did the lockdown impact employee productivity and performance?

As the lockdown began, employees had more time on hand to manage not only their work
but also attend to the household chores. There was a perceived sense of comfort in working
from their home. However, in the initial lockdown, the employees had clear work mandates,
plans and outstanding issues to resolve and work from their previous interactions with
colleagues, customers, and bosses.
With more time on hand, the employees used the time to best fulfill the already assigned
jobs in the offices. The immediate effect of lockdown hence was a sharp rise in productivity.
However, as the lockdown extended severe challenges began to be seen. According to Mr.
Vinod John, MD and Co-Founder of BluElement Technologies, “This lockdown has been a
mixed bag when it comes to productivity. While the onus is on the employees to be more
focused and result oriented, the organizations should also do more to engage and motivate
their employees for better productivity. Some of the employees have been more productive
because they aren’t forced to invest time on commute and other distractions, few others
have taken it for granted and aren’t at their best when it comes to being productive”.

Major Challenges Faced: Productivity, collaboration, and Wellbeing?

A few of the eminent challenges found from the comparative study of primary and
secondary data, were clearly the lack of infrastructure at home to perform work seamlessly,
lack of collaboration spaces leading to fewer ideas, common purposes etc. Somehow, the
workforce could not compartmentalize their work time and personal time.
Calls started getting drawn into their lunch time and late evenings. Knowingly or
unknowingly, both the organization and the workforce started letting work spill over into
one’s personal space and time. This was the perfect recipe for the employees to begin to
feel overworked and eventually burnt out. This clearly indicates the lack of healthy
boundaries. Both employees and organizations need to keep this in mind and plan
effectively.

According to Mrs. Sonal Lobo HR manager of BluElement Technologies, “Some employers
think that allowing the employees to work from home is a privilege that’s being offered,
majority of the employers appreciate that health and employee wellbeing is paramount and
work from home, in this situation is the way to go, as it is not just a new norm but rather a
need of the hour”.


How are organizations engaging their employees in these tough times?


Several issues on employee wellness, engagement, motivation, and productivity can
however be addressed by special initiatives, better work ethics, fixed work hours for a good
work life balance. It is important for the employers to provide resources such as
connectivity and required infrastructure to the employees to increase motivation and
productivity.
Anurag Kapoor, Co-founder of DataFact.io and BluElement Technologies contributed his
valuable insights and said that “It is important that the HRs and supervisors connect with
the employees on a personal touch, and this would help build a sense of mutual empathy.
Inturn, this would increase productivity and motivation.”
Building trust by connecting on a personal level is important during these tough times. To
increase collaboration levels, many organizations have opted for vendors to enhance and
invest in employee engagement. Many events like virtual dinners, mental wellbeing
sessions, food and other lifestyle incentives, employee wellness programs are being held to
increase employee engagement and other social skills which may have deteriorated during
WFH. EngageLoop is one such initiative that organizations would highly benefit from in the
effort of keeping their employees healthy, entertained, and engaged. It offers a unique and
innovative Rewards and Recognition platform with 1000+ experiential rewards, virtual
activities, team engagement programs, and a lot more to choose from.
It is time organizations be mindful of how they are willing to engage and reward their
workforce. In order, to best perform in the work from home scenario, empathy and
reinvention of employee engagement are the key ingredients in accepting this new norm
and ensuring that employee wellness and productivity go hand in hand. Create an
environment for your employees where they are eager to attend that virtual meet with the
team. Yes, Home is the New Office, so engage your employees, make them feel home and
render outstanding performances at work!

Author
Ayushi Balaji