Remote work: Are employees struggling to adapt?

Working on new technology systems can be stressful for some – can HR help?

Remote work: Are employees struggling to adapt?

Are your employees coping well with the new way of working?

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to quickly adopt new technology systems and enable employees to work from home.

Many tech applications and platforms are available and can easily enable remote access for employees working from home. However, as one industry expert pointed out, some staff may still struggle to quickly adapt to the sudden change in the way they work. This may lead to a loss in productivity.

We spoke to Gary Lee, Global Head of People and Organisational Development at WS Audiology, to get insights on how HR can help manage the massive change.

READ MORE: Leaders 'unprepared' to manage remote teams

HRD: Problems are bound to come up when using a new tech system. How can leaders help employees manage any issues?
GL: When it comes to new technology systems, there are two problems that tend to surface. One is a technical problem, which should be handled by the provider. The other part is the emotions that arise from technical problems.

The second issue is something that HR has to handle with change management. With every change, you just have to set the right expectations for people. The more expensive the system, the higher the expectations, so it’s about managing people’s expectations.

And I think another worry that some businesses or leaders may have is that every time there’s a change in leadership or change in direction, then there’ll be a system change. I think you need to try and put forth a system that will be bigger than the leadership.

HRD: New technology can lead to additional stressors and possibly a loss in productivity. How can leaders minimise any loss in productivity when rolling out new systems?
GL: Every time you bring in a new tech, you need a dedicated team to look into it. So, if you want to roll out the new tech, the question is: do you have bandwidth to dedicate those resources? I’m not just talking about dollars and cents – it’s all about people. And what works in some organisations, won’t in others.

Also, does the team have a strong project management philosophy? In my previous organisation, everybody was on [the same page]. That helped because you don’t need to come up with new project management terms. Everybody understands what needs to be done, whether it’s an IT or HR project.

If everybody has their own project methodology, it can sometimes create conflicts because of miscommunication and misunderstandings. I will say that looking beyond the system and focusing on the support around the system can help ensure that productivity is still maintained.

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HRD: Advice for leaders trying to manage a system change.
GL: Be brave and be okay that sometimes you have to ruffle feathers to have a successful tech roll out. And when you face resistance, it’s not personal – it’s just people resisting change. Even if it’s a good change, people will still resist. People are okay with change as long as it doesn’t happen to them. So for a successful tech roll out, you need to be very good with change management as well as project management.

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