Application of practices from managerial theories allows managers to become more effective in the workplace and lead the workforce towards achieving the company’s goals (Cichobłaziński, & Leszek, 2017). Understanding the theories create leadership abilities that grow organizations as a manager is able to select strategies that work for the company and tailors them towards achieving greatness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most companies adopted a working from home policy to mitigate the risk of spread of the disease as employees commuted to work. Businesses that lacked resources to facilitate working from home had to close down while those with the facilities experienced economic recession as they transitioned. Managers who led a working from home task-force also had a difficult time trying to motivate a hopeless and anxious group of employees. They had to adopt managerial theories tailored to meet the needs of the employees and achieve company’s goals. This report on “Work-from-home and Employee Motivation during the COVID-19 Pandemic” is essential to managers and the workplace as it helps to understand what the employees may need to perform in the changing global work environment.
Appraisal of Key Concepts
The Impact on Employees’ Remote Work Productivity, Engagement, and Stress
Galanti et al, (2021) explains the impact that working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic on employees after they switched suddenly. Management had little to no time to transition and allow their employees to start working from home. The gradual concept of change was new and strange and thus needed a sober management team to facilitate changes. The pandemic created an opportunity for employees to work with minimal supervision at the comfort of their homes. Up to 50% of employees worked from home unlike in the years before the pandemic where only 12% of the employees worked remotely. Adoption of working from home is a flexible way of working that requires proper planning, a period of design, and adoption of strategies/ support for employees to become a success. To achieve this, management is required to play a significant role in motivating and encouraging employees to achieve maximum results.
The article further analyzes the negative impact that employees face in home environment compared to an organized work environment. Poor managerial planning for the employees working from home cased increase in level of stress to employees while drastically reducing productivity. Working from home employees also experienced social-isolation and family-work conflict that translated to poor mental health after a long duration of working remotely. Proper planning and adoption of appropriate managerial theories offered a solution to employees who worked remotely. It also motivated these employees through eliminating tension in home environments and promoting a healthy work environment. Some of the managerial theories include constant communication with the remote employees to minimize social isolation and stress (Dubey, & Tripathi, 2020). It could avail office resources such as desks, printer among other equipment to create an office feel environment to promote employees comfort thus achieving effectiveness and overall productivity. Therefore, with proper planning, working from home would not have been tasking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to Maintain Employee Motivation amid the Covid-19 Virus Pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic caused anxiety among employees due to fear of infection while in the work environment and fear of losing their jobs due to business collapse. The pandemic has also affected business globally and most companies have not yet stabilized financially thus the need for innovative strategies to boost the recovery process. Among these innovative strategies is working from home for employees to cut down business expenditure. According to Wolor, Susita, & Martono, (2020) motivation of remote employees is likely to benefit institutions and provide contingency measures for the pandemic and other similar situations in future. Motivating employees will provide a healthy working environment for these employees and achieve company’s objectives. The article states that the management of each company is responsible for motivating employees and coming up with strategies that promote productivity for employees.
Managerial responsibilities recommended in the articles include development of strategies that care for the safety of their employees. During the pandemic, working from home is paramount to reduce infection rate among employees. However, when working remotely, they are exposed to mental health diseases due to social isolation, family conflicts, and a poor working environment (Alharbi, 2019). To achieve employee’s mental safety, management ought to avail proper remote working environment and also follow up with them from time to time to understand their problems and check on their performance. Secondly, intrinsic motivation, by the management is an essential motivational factor as it helps to recognize the effort of the employee and reward it justly. This form of motivation helps the employee to become creative and deal with the challenges they face in the remote environment and promote work efficiency. Finally, based on the Maslow’s motivational theories, employees’ needs are physiological, security, social, prestige, and self-actualization. In the pandemic, only the two most basic needs ought to be met, physiological and security needs. Physiological needs include food and security is the safety from COVID-19 infection. Therefore, management can motivate the employees through providing for the two major needs until the pandemic is over.
The impact of pandemic COVID-19 in workplace
Kaushik, & Guleria, (2020) believes that working from home concept had existed around ten years ago but has been embraced fully as an effective work plan in the midst of a pandemic. The plan is likely to be embraced even long after the pandemic due to the benefits it has on businesses and employees. To succeed in the working from home strategy during a pandemic, the article explains the crucial role that ought to be played by employees and the HR manager. HR managers should be in the frontline in achieving stability in working remotely. To achieve this, they should follow up with the employees and understand the challenges that they face while working from home. Secondly, they should develop plans that help employees have a better social life even when working from their homes. This way, employees are psychologically healthy and ready to meet the challenges they face while working remotely. Kaushik, & Guleria, (2020) emphasizes on empowering a skilled personnel in a company to develop strategies that allow continuity in working from home and create a working environment through thinking outside the box.
The article lists the positive and negative impacts of working from home and the employees’ motivation. One of the most significant positive impact of remote working is minimizing time and costs of commuting. Employees get additional time to rest and to be productive in the long run. Secondly, it promotes technological advancement as a business tries to sustain working from home. However, remote working has negative implications on employee’s motivation as they are disengaged from the company and their bosses. To enhance motivation, managers ought to make deliberate decisions to encourage employees and help them understand the need of working harder to promote the wellbeing of the company and their psychological wellbeing as well.
Maintaining Employee Engagement and Employee Performance during Covid-19 Pandemic
The reality of the pandemic has forced companies to seek continuity plans to help run businesses and promote the wellbeing of their employees (Adhitama, & Riyanto, 2020). It has also brought to surface employee’s contributions towards the success of a business. Therefore, maintaining employee engagement and performance among those working from home is the key to business success during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article has two main objectives, to maintain employee engagement on those working remotely and maintain their overall productivity. Managers are often the closest to employees in a normal working setup due to their constant interactions. They organize schedules that help achieve the goals of the company while providing for the safety and the wellbeing of the employees. After the pandemic, employees had to work remotely thus distancing them from managers. To curb the gap, managers ought to be creative and come up with motivational strategies. These strategies should be tailored towards the needs of the employees.
Based on the roles of managers in the work environment, they should be in a position to understand the challenges that employees face by either communicating or by observing their behavior (Cichobłaziński, & Leszek, 2017). While working in the job environment, managers identify these challenges by observation, but when working remotely, they should embark on frequent communication. Secondly, managers should engage employees on vital duties even when working remotely to help them realize that their efforts are needed. These vital duties may include going to the office at least once in every week or taking turns to lead virtual meetings. This way, they can keep the employees engaged and motivated for work productivity. Finally, managers should be able to understand the challenges that employees go through while working remotely. In most cases, the employees might lack privacy when working from home. This means that managers should develop flexible working routines that are in line with the employees and help them achieve maximum productivity even when remotely.
Recommendations to Managers
Working from home is a work plan that might be adapted permanently by businesses (Mehta, Saxena, & Purohit, 2020). This is because it offers certain benefits that a business would not have enjoyed if it did not adapt the remote working strategy. Therefore, it is essential that managers develop and embrace strategies that ease the working from home process. The first method of achieving this is through creating schedules that are in line with resource availability of the company and that of the employees. Straining resources may lead to stress among employees thus demotivating them and may cause collapse of the company in case the resources are strained. Secondly, management ought to develop strategies that will promote communication among employees working remotely. The studies explained above have realized a common finding of employee’s social isolation among employees working from home. This makes them less engaged and less productive compared to how they would be when working from the office (Baker, 2020). Therefore, constant communication and frequent checking on the wellbeing of employees promotes employee productivity and their mental health during the pandemic.
Thirdly, managers should work collaboratively with the employees to ensure their involvement in running the company (Carnevale, & Hatak, 2020). Teamwork between managers and employees in remote working increases virtual interaction thus promoting business continuity. After the pandemic, managers can use managerial theories and skills to decide whether to continue with the remote work plan or go back to the traditional work plan where employees can report in the business premise. Finally, managers should embrace technological advancement that is necessary in facilitating remote work plan during the pandemic and years after the pandemic (Bailey, & Breslin, 2021). This will help develop a contingency plan for a business and ensure continuity even in the middle of a pandemic. In addition, technological advancement makes work easier for the employees and promotes efficiency. It also reduces operational costs for the business, thus promoting growth and development.
The findings of these report are based on the analysis of four reports concerning remote working and employee motivation during the COVID-19 pandemic. These reports arrive at similar conclusions that management of a company have the ability to enhance employee motivation through managerial theories and skills. The pandemic has complicated the business environment due to the new concepts of social distancing to reduce infection rates. Therefore, this will require managers who link the business to the employees, to develop strategic plans that facilitate remote working plans for business continuity even during lockdowns. They should also create a healthy work environment for employees to promote mental health as well as improve their general wellbeing when working from home. Finally, the overall findings of the report are beneficial to managers as it gives insight to their responsibilities in the working from home plan to ensure business continuity.
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