Adaptability and agility have remained key to the survival and growth of organizations. The global pandemic has pushed organizations to adapt to newer ways of working, including remote working.
This ‘new normal’ has given rise to ‘faceless’ employees, which is posing new challenges in people management. Managers sometimes find themselves in situations where they need to manage the expectations of not only employees but also employees’ families. Employees, who had earlier used the office as an escape route from family pressures, are now finding it difficult to manage the dynamics of both the work and home fronts from the same physical space.
Managers need to keep this new dimension in mind and adopt a firm yet compassionate approach, something that they are not trained for. With health and safety concerns causing anxiety among team members, project managers need to show empathy while ensuring that the project does not suffer.
Before the pandemic, it was a common practice to prioritize time and effort to ensure that work responsibilities were carried out smoothly. But the practice of work from home has led to re-prioritization of time and effort, with office work encroaching on the rest time of employees. Managing the physical and mental fatigue of team members is a new responsibility of leaders at all levels – teams, projects, human resources, and business leaders. Empathy and counselling are the new skills that must be part of a project manager’s arsenal.