The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to stay at home to contain the virus. As a result, it greatly affected daily routines and mandated employees to work from home.
The implementation of remote working, without ample time for planning, preparation, and alignment, caused stress and negatively impacted some employees’ morale and productivity. This is especially true for IT teams, as they’re probably one of the busiest departments in organizations today due to the circumstances.
Having competent and responsible IT managers and executives during this time is crucial to the IT departments’ success. Research shows that only 49% of IT decision-makers agree that their crisis planning process prepared them for the COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s essential to support your team and provide them with the tools they need to perform their best. Below are some of the thoughts of IT leaders on employee management amid a pandemic.
1. Reestablish company culture
In challenging times like this, nurturing a strong remote company culture is essential, and it starts at the top. These days, leaders are doubling their effort in reinforcing a strong and positive culture aligned with their core values, objectives, and mission.
Since these and other practices can be difficult to adopt and observe from a screen, conducting team engagement activities for the whole company to bond and fortify these beliefs and practices are needed for a high-performing organization. IT leaders can also sustain this by fostering a culture that encourages growth through upskilling and development opportunities.
2. Enable authentic communication with employees
In a situation where you rarely see each other, over-communication is highly unlikely. Conducting regular meetings through Zoom or other video conferencing apps where everyone in the IT department is required to attend for alignment and essential company updates is critical during this time.
Keeping everyone on the same page and giving the department a heads-up on possible issues is essential. CIO of Doylestown Health Richard Lang said, “Motivation is key to keeping your IT force driving home solutions during a crisis.” Maintaining regular communication also serves as a motivation, giving the team a sense of control somehow.
3. Assess safety and security risks regularly
In the 2020 State of the CIO research, it outlined the activities CIOs focus most of their time on and which they’d like to concentrate more on in the next three years. It touched on security management and aligning IT initiatives with business goals, among others.
While IT leaders’ priorities have changed because of the pandemic (i.e., spending more time on cost control and redesigning business processes), increasing cybersecurity remains on their list.
Since you will be working with your team remotely, it is vital to protect your online platforms and the tools you use by doing frequent security risk assessments to keep watch of vulnerabilities. This ensures that your employees can work at home without worrying about software quality or digital assets, just as how they feel when they are in the office.
4. Prepare for remote work burnout
Work from home burnout is real, and it’s rapidly emerging as a societal health crisis. A survey shows that about 69% of employees have experienced remote burnout since the pandemic began. Employees may no longer be spending hours on the road when commuting, but they’re still exhausted, working longer hours than before, and taking one-too-many Zoom calls, causing them to be stressed about their jobs.
IT work is more challenging during this time, as with other job functions. That’s why tech leaders need to prepare for the burnout syndrome to avoid it from happening to their teams. Sanjoy Malik, CEO of Urjanet, said that they are exploring flexibility opportunities in working hours to create a healthy work-life balance and alleviate burnout.
Managers should make accommodations to fix this growing epidemic by revisiting internal policies and fostering healthier company culture.
5. Shift focus on responsive and preventative strategies
There’s no going back to normal in the post-COVID-19 world. Now is the time to reassess your business continuity plans to strengthen your preventive strategies for the future. This includes improving systems performance, business processes, and corporate resiliency to enhance your employees’ remote work experience.
Prasanna Singaraju, Co-Founder and Chief Digital and Innovation Officer of Qentelli, said that investments in infrastructure for a digital workforce and new technologies would prepare for a more digitally-inclined new normal.
As the pandemic establishes lasting changes to how you work, you need to prioritize building more efficient processes. This not only helps your business stay innovative but also enables your employees to get their jobs done more effectively and skillfully.
Wrapping it up
IT company leaders are working hard to keep their departments connected, aligned, and productive during times of crisis. Even when the virus blows over, organizations need to be on top of the game, which means taking the right preventive measures for what lies ahead.
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- What IT Leaders Say About Employee Management During A Pandemic - November 19, 2020
- 6 Ways to Build a Strong Virtual Company Culture - October 15, 2020
- How to Address Your Employees’ Work from Home Burnout - September 3, 2020