COVID 19: How to keep your spirits up

HRD investigates how one company adapted quickly to remote working to keep employees happy and productive

COVID 19: How to keep your spirits up

Research indicates that for the vast majority of New Zealanders, remote working has had a positive impact on employee outcomes.

According to a study by the University of Otago, 73% of people said they were “equally or more productive” when working from home, while 89% wanted to continue post-lockdown, at least part-time.

One organisation which has worked hard to keep employees happy and productive throughout the pandemic is Citrix.

The company was able to confidently move to 100% remote work “basically overnight” because they already had the technology in place for offsite work.

Since the onset of COVID, the company’s intention was to act quickly and comprehensively to make employees the priority throughout the crisis, according to Donna Kimmel, chief people officer at Citrix.

“We activated initiatives in almost every HR function, fully virtualising hiring, onboarding, and our internship program. We developed and sourced new content for our Citrix Learning Centre with resources about the virus, remote work, home schooling, grief, and more,” said Kimmel.

Like many organisations during the pandemic, Citrix has also made engagement a priority.

Read more: Happy employees, great business

It is something Kiwi companies have been especially good at, with research by Peakon finding  that employee engagement significantly improved during the height of the pandemic in New Zealand, rising by 5.6% (nearly triple the global average increase of 2%).

At Citrix, the focus turned to creating pulse surveys for continuous listening, aligning compensation and benefits programs to business conditions, and increasing their corporate giving.

“The challenging part for our HR team members was pausing from caring for others long enough to care for ourselves,” said Kimmel.

Read more: What makes your employees happy?

It’s something that many companies in New Zealand have focused on, as research has found that Kiwi employees felt their mental wellbeing was prioritised by their employees during the pandemic, with scores increasing by a significant 8% between January and July. 

For Kimmel, it was a matter of recognising that optimal performance is best when it is not rushed.

“Even as we promoted resources about allowing each other more grace and re-prioritising work, we were slow to slow down,” said Kimmel.

“We had to be reminded that we, too, were living through this crisis and might need to adopt some self-care and management tools and just take time for ourselves. When we began inviting each other to do that, we all benefitted.” 

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