Navigating WFH Arrangements To Stay Sane

Melissa Norman, founder of talent solutions company, Aisling Group

A couple of key components to better managing a workforce that is working remotely are communication and empathy, says Melissa Norman, founder of Aisling Group, a homegrown talent solutions provider, in an interview with Business Today on how employers and their employees can manage work from home (WFH) situations better.

“It is important for employers to engage with their employees, to know the challenges they are facing and to try and help them find solutions that work for the organisation and the employees,” she stresses.

Due to Covid-19, 65% of Malaysians are claiming to work from home, which is higher than the global average, according to market research firm Ipsos, in a study on the pandemic’s effect on countries’ workforce. 

Melissa adds, in terms of technical support, employers should provide tools and platforms to alleviate simple, mundane tasks or provide training in skills that their employees lack, which would mitigate work stress.

With a WFH arrangement, it is also crucial for companies to have in place a mental wellness programme, which would incorporate facilities such as meditation sessions and access to counsellors.

WFH can prove to be challenging for many in terms of social isolation, or those who face an unconducive or unsafe home situation, while high depression rates due to the lockdown and economic closures is the number one factor in the rise of suicides in the country.

Having regular catch-up sessions and online activities for work and for play would also go a long way towards fostering a positive relationship between employers and employees as employees would not feel so isolated and feel appreciated as individuals.

To help employers and employees prepare for working in an endemic phase, Melissa shares that her company Aisling Group has been engaging with their clients (both businesses and jobseekers) and providing micro-learning through online and mobile platforms.

“Many of our clients have found this approach useful as a means to engage and develop individuals more consistently,” she explains. 

“In this era, human resources (HR) play such a dominant role in communicating and managing the workforce, and training is such an important element in helping organisations and people overcome challenges and remain resilient.”

Aisling Group has found that every client/ organisation is experiencing something different, but all are challenged with keeping employees focused and engaged, noticing that employees are experiencing fatigue and low motivation levels which in return is causing attrition. 

Melissa advises employers to seek solutions with talent consultancy providers that can uniquely address their talent acquisitions but also review strategies around retention and personal development.

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