Published in LinkedIn Pulse on April 4, 2020
Director – Strategy and People Practice at RiceHR
On a typical day, an employee commutes from his/her home to the workplace through the vehicle or public transport. Around 9:15 a.m. the employee walks into the workplace, punches in, opens the laptop / PC and starts doing his/her activity. The boss walks into the office sometime later and calls his/her teammate. This employee goes with a report which was assigned to him/her the previous day. Both discuss it, and the boss asks to make changes to the report. The employee walks back to his seat and while on the way spends a couple of minutes chit-chatting. Another hour passes by, and the boss follows up with the employee twice or thrice about its completion. The employee says he/she will complete soon. After an hour he/she submits the report to the boss. The boss accepts and hands over another assignment. This takes the whole day, since there are other uncompleted tasks. In the meantime the employee had to attend different meetings, some with the boss, some with his/her subs and some with peers. While going to meetings and coming back to the seat, there are so many deviations / disturbances either official or unofficial. The employee had to oblige for some, and politely turn down others. At the end of an extended day, the employee gets fully exhausted and punches out at around 8:00 or 8:15 p.m.
Let’s imagine how productive an employee will be on a typical day. The Home-Office Commute takes about 2 hours on average. It might sound simple, but how much time is wasted in walking to his boss’s cabin getting distracted while on the way? On top of it, going back and forth to the pantry/canteen for a minimum of two tea breaks as well as lunch break, and at times few could go out with their friend’s circle for a brief puff…….
If we truly analyse in depth about the real productive hours spent by the employees, we can say with confidence at least 20-25% of time is spent on things which are not necessary but which lies outside the control of the employees.
This format of office system took a twist when Covid struck the world. Companies took drastic decisions of allowing employees to WFH. Some organisations took prudent decisions early, while some organisations had no other option but to adapt to the new routine. The same office hours, but let’s look into how much time saved. Whether it is commuting, or walking back and forth to cabins/canteen/conference rooms, getting distracted by people on the way and so on. Sooner it will be of no surprise when some research organisations come out with a Whitepaper on the increase in productivity due to WFH, in terms of clear percentage.
It is a known fact that Employee Bonding is foremost important for an organization to grow and succeed. Does employees need to be physically present at the workplace in order to get bonded with the organisation ? (Of course, this will apply to factories, hospitals or hotels).
To answer this question, let us imagine how Corporates will function. If the current lockdown situation gets extended for some more time worldwide, slowly companies will get adopted to the newer system of connecting virtually and closing deals, so that when counties open up, they could do the actual transactions.
Similarly any initiatives related to employee bonding can take place virtually given the level of digitisation.
Already there are cloud based softwares to support companies to e-Manage employees, right from Onboarding to Exits. For the employee, WFH has an impact on their time, energy focus and personal cost. This will increase their efficiency, productivity and maximise their contribution to the organisation with lesser expense.
No doubts, in person presence can never replace other forms but Virtual Employee Bonding is going to be the New Normal in a not-so-far future.
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