Corporates keep WFH fun and engaging

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on April 14, 2020 Published on April 14, 2020

Flexible workday allows people to work when it is best for them

A new study has revealed that India has the highest number of virtual meetings, with 4.1 meetings held daily, as compared with other countries hosting an average of 2.4 meetings per day.

With work from home (WFH) becoming the new normal for many employees as corporates try to contain the spread of the pandemic, the study by recruitment consultancy Michael Page India gauged how Indian workers were adapting to their new routines.

The study said seven out of 10 workers built stronger relationships with their colleagues as a result of WFH.

While 90 per cent of those surveyed felt that their companies were prepared for the shift to WFH, nine out of ten workers said they were satisfied with the levels of remote engagement.

A total of 1,837 respondents employed across various industries in India were surveyed between March 31 and April 5. The comparison by the recruitment consultancy was set against seven other countries surveyed in South-East Asia.

Downsides of WFH

Fun, communication and transparency, in that order, were the three elements of team culture employees across India said would be the most negatively impacted by WFH. Moreover, if WFH extends beyond two months, 38 per cent of those surveyed said it would impact team culture positively, while 33 per cent felt it would impact team culture negatively.

The study showed corporates have been keeping their WFH fun and engaging with ‘Chai’ time, potluck, quizzes, hobbies and skills - all done virtually, and employees belting famous Bollywood tunes via #QuarantineAntakshari.

Offices have also urged employees to indulge in ‘Meet the family’ introductions, as well as video-calling with kids and pets. Employees are also urged to post pictures of WFH setups as well as daily meals, with many encouraged to share music playlists so that everyone grooves to the same tunes in different locations.

The study showed employees are also keeping active by partaking in yoga and various exercise sessions.

Nicolas Dumoulin, Managing Director, Michael Page India, notes though it is easy to get caught up in adjusting to the ‘new norm’ of remote work and engagement, it is equally important to gear up, for at some point, the crisis will subside.

Urging companies to think ahead and put the necessary processes in place, the MD advices corporates to create engagement in the current scenario. Corporates could have “themed weeks or fun competitions, such as lunch ideas, WFH complaints, best home workout routines or even virtual drinks on the last hour of Friday,” the possibilities are endless.

Highlighting the importance of maintaining and encouraging participation via communication platforms, “even if it is something as simple as creating messaging groups” Dumoulin says corporates could scour the many possibilities at their disposal to make WFH a more exciting time.

As the world transitions to remote work, Microsoft Team meetings have also increased at an exponential rate. Microsoft said it has seen a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day, a 200 percent increase from 900 million on March 16, and 50 million on March 12.

Work Trend Index report

In its Work Trend Index report, Microsoft showed people are finding a human connection through video. WFH inspires people to turn on the video 2X more than before the outbreak, the report showed, with a huge surge in video use registering in Microsoft Teams from March 2 to March 31.

The study showed total video calls in Teams surged by over 1,000 per cent in March. However, consumers in India were lagging.

People in India use video in 22 per cent of meetings, while those in Singapore 26 per cent, South Africa 36 per cent, France 37 per cent, and Japan 39 per cent. The study attributed this in part to less access to devices and stable internet in some regions such as India and South Africa.

With many consumers working in Microsoft 365, conducting searches in Bing, and connecting on LinkedIn, trillions of signals like emails, meetings, searches, and posts are created that go on to form the Microsoft Graph, touted as one of the largest graphs of human interactions at work globally.

Trends in the data provided a unique view into the world’s productivity patterns.

The study also showed people embracing a more flexible work schedule, with the so-called larks of the world more productive in the morning, while night owls were more creative and focused in the evening. Data points suggested a more flexible workday created by remote work is allowing people to work when it is best for them.

Published on April 14, 2020

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