Take care of your employees as they adapt to remote work

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.

But all successful communication must go two ways.

In this era of forced remote work, it is very important that companies and employees maintain a channel of dialogue to address mental health issues, productivity, and the need to adjust schedules. Work at home, process automation, virtual meetings, the work-life balance were already recurring themes for people management. With the global coronavirus epidemic, they gained a new proportion in importance showing how necessary and relevant the human resources area is for the smart business.

More than being able to adapt to remote work, the challenge presented by Covid-19 shows that having committed and productive teams are the easiest way for companies to react to adverse situations.

An important point for more assertive decision making at this time is the diversity in the crisis committee. This must be made up of representatives from different areas of the company to guarantee a holistic vision, capable of evaluating all aspects of change. Some of these aspects are the geographical change from office to work at home, the age of the different office colleagues and therefore the various stages of life in which they are, where up to five generations can work simultaneously. The needs of an employee with a young child in the home are not the same as that of a single professional or one who already has adult children.

A relevant factor that has a great impact and that we have been able to handle very well internally in the company is communication. Our CEO and all levels of leadership are communicating more frequently with employees. All the actions that are being taken in the face of the situation we are experiencing are communicated in a transparent way so that erroneous and rumours are not generated that affect the organizational climate.

But all successful communication must go two ways. As relevant as the previous one, another key aspect is listening to employees. At SAP we use the Remote Work Pulse tool, from SAP Qualtrics (free for 90 days for companies and governments during the pandemic), which gives us an insight into the emotional state of employees, making an analogy with weather conditions and anonymous data that allow the employee to declare their emotional state as sunny, partially cloudy, or cloudy. And, also to leave comments about your current life moment. Through these surveys, you can
identify various points that can be used to make some adjustments to our policies or even to create new things.

It is very important to motivate to develop physical activity in the workplace (home) with online classes. Many employees reported quite a bit of stress, so we decided to create a series of free classes (yoga, aerobics, zumba, etc.) that require physical activity to release energy. This type of activities alleviates the stress of employees due to not being able to leave home, has improved their quality of life and therefore their professional performance.

We emphasize that it is very important that companies and employees maintain a channel of dialogue to address mental health problems, productivity and the need to adapt schedules. Not all employees can simply transfer the routine from the office to the home. Physical space is a big limitation and sharing it among several family members in activities that require a lot of concentration generates stress. Adjustments are necessary and there is no rule that applies to everyone. It is necessary to use more and more common sense to a vision of empathy on the part of the human resources area and the leadership team of the company.

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