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Beating the Remote Work Blues: A Talent Manager’s Relief Resource

Apr 22, 2020


  • EDITORIAL TEAM Talent Management Institute
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Admit it! Most of us prayed for personal downtime, to escape the dreaded 9 am traffic and work flexi-hours. A few of us looked forward to spending those wasted commute hours with our hatchlings. And God knows, how lovely it all seemed!

The skies split and heavens delivered.

Amen! The dream is here. Almost overnight. Beckoning early birds and night owls to have the time of their lives. The world is upside down. Your spouse is your new coworker and your coworkers are radioactive (Well, you never loved them much anyway).

But, Ugh! Why does it feel different? A far cry from the utopia of your dreams. An outrage, the universe has served your favorite pie sprinkled with its own choicest toppings. As reality hits, you can’t help but wince at the global pun.

Remote workers work longer hours, more intensely and in some cases experiencing more stress. -“Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the World of work”, United Nations International Labor Organization.

And those deceptive little ones who you wanted to spend time with, they’ve conquered your house forcing you to cram yourself into the laundry room for that “high-level” meeting. “Did the camera cover the wreck in your background?” Double Ugh!

Not a pretty picture of your dreams or is it?

Well, now that we are here, how about repainting the scene to suit your taste?

Absolving the ‘Ab’ From The New Normal

Transitions are hard. Abrupt transitions, even harder. As the Coronavirus swept the world even the C-suite executives who darted from events to meetings to conferences in their chauffeur-driven sedans and private jets are confined to the quaint spaces of their spare rooms.

While technology was always ready to support this shift, our fixed working patterns weren’t so much.

The C-suite had its qualms about the productivity aspect of the change. Chuck Robbins, chief executive of Cisco said in an earlier interview: “This whole teleworking thing — as much as we sell it to our customers, I’m not sure I want to do it 100 percent of the time.” Earlier this month, he conceded “Nobody prepares for this.”

We are forced to think: Why not? Because results say otherwise.

Stewart Butterfield, the CEO of Slack, who again had to log in from his laundry room, said: “It was probably the most productive week of work in the company’s history.”

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, logged in from his splendid home-office, says, “It’s a miracle you can run a company this way.” And this was when Google was handling a historical surge in its G-suite and hangouts traffic.

As business leaders around the world echo the high-productivity sentiment, we are forced to chuck “the productivity equation” out of the discussion window.

But What About Operational Hurdles

All is fun and games till you get a video call from your boss.

Four kinds of hurdles stand out in work-from-home arrangements: connectivity, schedule, distractions, and communications.

While the business world grapples with these newfangled operational challenges, the roadblocks for Talent Leaders are wider. In addition to facing the above common hurdles, they have to address questions like “Should I hire or delay hiring”, “What policy changes now”, “How to address the changing work modalities “and “How not to intimidate that new introvert intern who just refuses to talk”.

But, before that, most importantly “How to create a work environment that aids your peace of mind so you can make vital decisions”!

Find a space for yourself.

If you’ve got your Internet up and running, you can straightaway begin with getting the right tools and tech. The choices are many. A plethora of options is out there to help you connect with your talent, perform your work with ease, and assist you schedule your day.

Dealing with Distractions

Work-from-home can destroy your daily routine. By the time you get absorbed in your work, it is already 4 pm, without you having eaten any lunch.

Jibing about distractions, Albert Bourla, CEO, Pfizer, said “I had missed the fights between my wife and my daughter…I’m happy to see it once more. The day starts with a fight and ends with a fight.”

Stick to your schedule. Fix your breaks. Set boundaries, especially if you have kids around. A baby gate can help. Turn off notifications on the phone so you are not disturbed by colleagues working in different time zones.

Eat, Work, Sleep, Repeat!

The transition to work-from-home was abrupt and uneasy. The journey needn’t be. Some of us have already begun to relish it.

And then there is this opportunity quotient.

Black Death sent Isaac Newton home from Cambridge and he came out with a “Sir” title. That year, his annus mirabilis, or the “year of wonders” was the period when he discovered early calculus, the theory of optics and sat under That- yes THAT- apple tree.

What miracle do you plan to come up with? Could you use this letup to ignite a creative streak in your talent?

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