For those of us who have the luxury of working from home, in the heat of the COVID-19 lockdown, we transitioned from coming up with strategies to avoid the chatty co-worker to ways to avoid eating everything in our refrigerators. In addition to managing our dangerously low supply of toilet paper, we read almost every remote work tip article out there to learn more about best practices. In other industries where you need to be present to complete your work duties physically, employees were not as fortunate. As many as 36.5 million American’s lost their jobs.
The COVID-19 pandemic also provided the opportunity for employees to find out how their employers really feel about them. For companies that are deeply rooted in putting their employees first, they were quick to act and make changes with the sole purpose of keeping employees safe even if it affected the bottom line negatively. Essentially, if you were wondering if your company’s message on how much they care about their employees is just a marketing gimmick or something real, this pandemic is the ultimate test.
Several technology companies have taken the safety measures to the next level, by opting to have employees work remotely permanently. The companies that have decided to become remote work companies include AWeber, Coinbase, Facebook, Shopify, Square, Twitter, and Upwork. Others like Google, Salesforce, Zillow, and Box have also taken a more temporary approach of allowing employees to work remotely until the end of the year. In an unprecedented move, Microsoft also announced the closing of all its retail shops without any layoffs. They are thereby providing remote work opportunities for retail team members and at Microsoft corporate locations.
At Brisque, we believe in a human-first approach to marketing, and we think that should extend to your core business practices as well.
What does a human-first business look like?
A human-first business puts employee’s well-being above everything else, including profitability. Employees are not just people that contribute to meet sales targets. They are actual people with lives, families, and probably real-life issues in addition to the stress from work and need to manage it all. A human-first business understands that happy and fulfilled employees lead to a successful business. Likewise, when it comes to decision-making that affects their customers, a human-first business always looks to understand its customers’ needs and continuously works to meet those needs.
As mentioned, some businesses took a very human approach to their COVID-19 responses while others did not. For companies that can transition to a remote work environment but didn’t, or haven’t, here are some of the top excuses used.
1. The Let’s Wait and See Approach
Companies that took the “let’s wait and see” approach didn’t take any action and instead decided to wait it out. In most cases, this plan didn’t translate to employees having a warm and fuzzy feeling about the employer.
2. If the Government Shuts Down, Then You Can Work Remotely
This approach was the most laughable of all. If an employee can work remotely today, why is it worth jeopardizing their safety just because governments haven’t mandated that you work remotely? Good job telling your employees that you don’t care about their safety.
3. Run Unnecessary Shifts Just So the Office Can Feel Like an Office Again
Other businesses have opted to limit the number of people that can be in the office at a time. Having people work from home during certain days and then coming in on other days. Unless the work performed has to be on work premises, the work shifts are just an excuse to keep employees coming into the office for no reason.
4. We Are Not Equipped to Work Remotely
Not being equipped to work remotely is also a funny excuse. It’s 2020, remote work technology is plentiful. Everyone knows that you can provide ways for remote work if you really want to. Except for industries with the need for access to proprietary information that cannot be accessed remotely, almost every job that is performed with access to the internet and a computer should have transitioned to a remote role. There are several remote working tools available for free to equip meetings and for managing projects. Furthermore, companies who are truly interested in creating a remote work experience that works for their business can do so by developing a remote work policy.
5. Shutting Down and Working Remotely Is Bad for Team Morale
Okay, so let’s get this straight. Your team doesn’t need to sit in the office and hold hands with other co-workers to feel connected. And why is any team-building endeavor worth risking anyone’s health or possibly even life? Without life, you won’t have a team. Additionally, companies are benefiting from offering remote work to employees by seeing an uptick in productivity.
Here’s the bottom line for most employers. We get it, managing a remote workforce can be challenging if you haven’t already created a remote work culture. Employees might not say anything to you about how unhappy they are with your COVID-19 response. This is especially true if you haven’t created a culture for allowing that type of feedback. However, don’t get it twisted; every action and inaction that doesn’t make an employee feel like you have their best interests at heart is taken into account whenever the next opportunity comes knocking.