The business world has seen a significant shift with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the biggest challenges is maintaining the quality of work while still adhering to the precautionary measures to protect the public from the fast-spreading virus. Many institutions turned to remote work and digital transformations during this period. Many continue to adopt the work-from-home approach, despite the numerous attempts to recover from the pandemic and gradually return to offices.
While institutions and their human resource management teams did their best to confront the new environment by developing the best technical systems, enabling remote business and maintaining the continuity of work, they faced a new challenge. How would they manage human capital in the new work-from-home culture?
Several issues challenge human resource departments. HR professionals must redefine jobs, set performance measurements, and find ways to keep workers motivated to achieve strategic objectives. The same quality of work is necessary from home as in the office. Human resource teams also wondered: How can institutions enhance self-control to efficiently achieve optimal use of time and resources to complete the required tasks?
The Covid-19 pandemic conditions highlighted individual differences among workers in their ability to deal with a new work system and their ability to monitor and motivate themselves to accomplish the assigned tasks and work effectively and efficiently. Some harmful individual practices appeared among a group of employees at different levels of management and specialties.
We have witnessed employees who do not adhere to the official working hours and delay handing over assigned tasks, resulting in the accumulation of tasks on the next employee, who is waiting for their colleague to complete the job. We have also witnessed managers who deliberately assign their employees tasks late, often past their working hours, as they believe that an employee at home is available, not considering the employee’s family and social obligations.
The culture of remote work is a new corporate culture for managers and employees. Some managers are oblivious to the social and psychological challenges experienced by some employees. Women in particular may have a multiplicity of roles that often require them to balance work, supervise children studying remotely, and manage household affairs. Opening direct dialogue channels here appears to establish an appropriate work mechanism that helps create a stimulating and productive work environment for all.
Employing the philosophy and methodologies of coaching is one effective strategy in dealing with such challenges. Coaching creates a constructive dialogue between managers and employees, either individually or collectively.
When the leader or manager asks their employees questions that will allow them to evaluate the situation and come up with alternative solutions, whether in group or individual sessions, the manager motivates them. Innovation is allowed to flourish in the workplace. This working method entails accurately identifying the problem first, then analysing the available options that will help tackle this problem, and then finally setting measurements and indicators of performance, which is the core of the GROW methodology in coaching.
The success of the business environment in these pandemic-stricken times depends on the smooth flow of communication between managers and employees, and the convergence of their viewpoints to serve the achievement of the objectives of the institution. Here, the importance of listening skills increases for managers in general, including human resource managers, as they play an essential role in maintaining the organisation’s human capital. Deep listening, while showing empathy and understanding, and then asking conversational questions to come up with common solutions to make the work environment more appropriate is at the heart of the coaching philosophy.
This article calls organisations to adopt the coaching method in institutional work, whether in planning processes, human resource management, or any other challenges that the institutional environment may face.
Want more support in maintaining the human capital in your organisation and navigating new work-from-home culture through coaching? Ask any ICF credentialed coach!
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest organisation leading the global advancement of the coaching profession and fostering coaching’s role as an integral part of a thriving society. Founded in 1995, its 40,000-plus members located in more than 145 countries and territories work toward common goals of enhancing awareness of coaching and upholding the integrity of the profession through lifelong learning and maintaing the highest ethical standards.
Through the work of its six unique family organisations, ICF empowers professional coaches, coaching clients, organisations, communities and the world through coaching.
In India, ICF is represented by six vibrant chapters, all led by volunteers — ICF Bengaluru, ICF Chennai, ICF Delhi NCR, ICF Hyderabad, ICF Mumbai, and ICF Pune.
The author, Ahlam Saeed Al Lamki, is a quality management and empowerment expert, with a cumulative vast experience of over 25 years varying from economics and business, to quality management and women and adolescent empowerment.