Need for a more empathetic culture to ensure work-life balance
COVID-19 has shown that people can work and meet their targets in a world where everything is virtual and digital. Most of the organizations, at least in India, did not have any prior experience of a 100 percent WFH working model, but teams rapidly geared up to work online with the same levels of performance as they would in an offline office environment. In this pandemic, the overwhelmed world needs a more empathetic attitude that allows and promotes work-life balance. A lot of the businesses have thus tailored their approach to offer physical, mental, and emotional support to their employees during such dire times.
With an aim to ease the employees’ concerns of emergency medical and health requirements, many organizations have started partnering with major hospitals or organizations that cater to mental health, to offer staff and their families a range of health benefits, including rapid medical care around Covid, health check-ups, and daily employee health surveys.
Given the challenging environment, care must be taken to ensure an all-around wellbeing of every employee of the organization by offering various activities such as virtual yoga sessions as well as consultations around wellness, diets, lifestyle concerns, etc.
WFH has led to people constantly facing and battling anxieties of being away from their teams, coping with work, and a not so predictable future. An employee care program is the need of the hour to help address these issues at the group as well as individual levels. Introducing steps such as flexible working hours, consultations with health experts, organized cultural initiatives to involve families with regular contests for cooking, art, fun learning sessions that helped people remain connected. Employees are also being provided opportunities to upgrade and re-skill themselves with multiple online courses and training sessions to enhance their skills and expand their areas of expertise.
A lot of companies lack Empathy at the workplace, and this is the truth. Period.
Accepting a more compassionate tone company-wide definitely is not as easy as it sounds. Empathy involves employees taking the initiative to get closer to their co-workers. That initiative doesn’t come out of anywhere: a compassionate workplace requires mindful efforts where the entire organization is involved for everyone’s mutual benefit.
Learning how to be empathetic can be draining, both emotionally and mentally. Getting caught up in the problems and struggles of your colleagues means personally investing yourself into their lives. Someone may also end up seeing the shortcomings of your company, its leadership, and individual employees, all of which can take a huge toll on you.
Plus, empathy is not easy to measure. Of course, you can assess your employees’ morale through surveys and one-on-ones, but the direct impact of empathy on your bottom line is tricky to keep a note of.
Empathic employees have the potential to be taken advantage of by their co-workers in terms of their time and increasing expectations. In your effort to make yourself more available out there, some might try to dump more and more of their problems on you. Therefore, it is important to set a limit and draw a line to create a more compassionate work environment while working remotely.
The point is, how do you improve your relationship with your employees?
- How well are you listening
- Do not make assumptions
- Prioritize problems
- Consider their feelings
- And understand, empathy does not happen in a couple of days
Investing time and energy to become more empathetic is an ongoing, active process. Be it building trust with your colleagues to improving and maintaining the quality of your work, and helping other personnel who provide support to employees should exercise empathy to make their organization more human and a better place to work, especially in such tough times.
Empathy in businesses may not appear among the top priority list, however compassionate employees can have a huge influence on productivity and employee engagement. Workers prosper and feel motivated when they feel that their voices and concerns are being heard and addressed.
This brings me to my final question: Are you supporting your co-workers/employees beyond the bare minimum requirement?