COVID19 & remote work
What do you say to a CHRO who must confer with top leadership about the future of remote work, given the great uncertainty?
Oakey: When conferring with top leadership about remote work, it’s important to ensure that the business can support such positions. Come to the discussion prepared with information on what is necessary for successful remote positions. This is crucial whether the discussion is had under a normal business guideline or in an unplanned crisis situation.
Popelka: CHROs have an opportunity and obligation to lead and push their organizations to adopt a people-first outlook. The highest priority is to make sure employees are supported to do their job. That means working with the CIO to make sure there is technical infrastructure in place to support that work and providing employees with training and resources to adjust to this new normal. It also means providing the resources to support employees emotionally, professionally and financially as much as possible. It’s important that policies and resources are in place that enable employees to adapt based on their individual needs.
Many of the trends we’ve been discussing around the future of work have become a reality overnight: remote work, flexible hours, employee engagement, the importance of people data. CHROs have full visibility of the workforce.
Meade: It’s a tough time to have such discussions, as the CHROs are all-out doing what they can to maintain operations in this moment. But this is a very good test case for many companies that likely had the ability to permit their workforces to telework but had not. We suspect there will be some real lessons learned from this imposed exercise, most of which will be quite beneficial to remote-working options in the future.
Hamilton: I’d make sure leadership understands remote work isn’t just an employee benefit. It’s also a competitive advantage for your businesses, with benefits that touch many areas including talent management, real estate and, most timely, business continuity. It’s a win-win.
And we’re encouraging our employees to navigate the “new normal” by putting our company values into action: being effective and authentic in conversations and meetings, being supportive of and honest with team members, staying driven by focusing on priorities and results, and continuing their innovative thinking by recognizing we are now working differently.
Sethi: In 2016, 38% of employees were able to work from home at least one day a week. Those employees reported having notably higher job satisfaction than those who weren’t allowed the same perk—they’re 48% more likely to rate their job a “10” on the happiness scale, with 10 being the highest. While 86% of large company workers would like to work from home one or more days a week, only 26% do.
As a result of COVID-19, remote work has multiplied significantly. The key right now is to set boundaries around remote work at the risk of burnout and inefficiency. The CHRO can help companies create exceptional employee experiences from hire to retire. That means implementing customer-centric HR practices, paying attention to employees’ wellbeing and investing in the right technology to continue to attract and develop top talent, and enable their company to compete, innovate and deliver to customers.
Mathews: Given the great uncertainty of this time, putting a strategy in place for remote work is a must. Lucky for most mid-large-sized businesses, they are well equipped to do so and already have such strategies in place. The best approach to building a strategy is to first create a business-continuity team that includes representation across functions such as IT, finance, HR, customer support and, in our case as a software company, development. Once the team is in place, they should meet regularly to develop a business-continuity and disaster-recovery plan.
Business continuity is a documented plan that ensures regular business will continue even if a disaster has occurred. Disaster recovery (a facet of the business continuity plan) is related to the technical operations of your business that ensures the appropriate systems can be restored.