b'FEATURED ARTICLEImagine when your weekends are only differentiated from6.Uncertainty and (mis)Informationweekdays by what you do during core daily working hoursIamabigadvocateoforganisationsandemployers but for all other intents and purposes involve you staying atcontrollingthenarrativewhenitcomestoissues your place of work. affecting their organisation. 4.Morale and camaraderie We are on the brink of an extraordinary global recession At a time where there is so much uncertainty in society withand there will be countless numbers of businesses that will mixed messaging from governments and frightening andnot survive and hundreds of thousands of employees who reassuring data consumes us, people need the comfort ofwill lose their jobs. While supermarkets may well flourish in normality. Their workplace can give them that. the panic-buying market and have a need for people, the simple reality is that this will not even go close to being enough to cushion the impact of mass unemployment. Iunderstandandrespectthatforsomeorganisations, their size and office layout may simply not make working from the workplace a safe or viable option. But I do wonderConsider this: your workforce is WFH and you have told whetherorganisationshavefullyexploredtheiroptions.them to do that by assuming that everyone gets that Havetheythoughtlaterallyastowhattheycandotoisthesafethingtodo.Nowtheyhavejustheardthat respecttheimportanceofmoraleandcamaraderiebytwo-thirdsofthecountrysnationalairlinecarrierhas having a few days for different groups in the office. been stood down. You should understand that they are apprehending that they are next. There is no known end-date in sight for any of this. Your ability to communicate 5.Phones, social media and distractions with your people meaningfully is severely curtailed when Any employer will know that staff have far more distractionsthey are WFH. Communication as a negative is a working at their disposal and are almost begging for more attentionfrom home impact that must be avoided.than has ever been the case in world history. 7.ConclusionThis is not about casting aspersions on character: it isInstitutions need to talk to their people very openly about simply about recognising that this risk is there. Judgingall of the matters I have addressed in this article. by the number of social media posts made by people who are WFH during what are usual working hours, I think we can safely conclude that the distractions are perhaps as atFortoolong,employers(particularlyincountrieslike much risk of spreading as the virus itself. Australia,theUSandtheUK)haveavoidedhonest conversations with their people about important subjects such as trust and distrust, bad habits and human natures. It goes without saying that on something like this in a WFHThesethingsareavoidedforfearofprovokinglegal context, you do have to trust and trust significantly. Unlessclaims, being accused of being insensitive etc. At these you have hard metrics to measure output this is somethingmost critical of times, honesty and openness on difficult whereorganisationsneedtohelptheirpeopletohelpsubjects is what is sorely needed. What is also needed is themselves. some careful holistic thinking before knee-jerk decisions are made.Joydeep HorFounder and Managing Principal,People + Culture StrategiesOCTOBER 2020 23'