The digital means of communication came to make life easier for companies and workers. Does the pandemic, excess isolation, distance communication overdose done at any time, could they be affecting the professionals’ daily lives?
O Tecnoblog was to seek answers to these questions from the perspective of those involved: a psychologist who works in the HR area, a professional who started to work entirely in home office and companies that have started to place more emphasis on the online environment than on-site.
How has distance communication affected work?
Remote communication is changing the whole concept of work as we know it in Brazil, with massive growth after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychologist Karen Salles, 33, in addition to the consultations, works at a large food company. It is a good reference to start our investigation.
As the number of online meetings grew a lot during the isolation period, I asked the HR professional if she believes that this is a temporary change or the new reality of the market.
Karen was straightforward in her analysis:
“Even in an atypical pandemic context, teams and managers were also able to realize its benefits, such as reduced costs and travel time to face-to-face meetings.”
For companies, costs were reduced, especially for those that operate throughout Brazil or even internationally. In this respect, even smaller companies are looking forward to this change because the travel delay has been virtually eliminated.
How does it affect employees in the home office?
It is too early to have data to prove how much the change in work operations is affecting the emotional of the worker. What we have are some complaints, of people exceeding their standard workload or having excessive meetings. They are still punctual situations, apparently.
Karen Salles, working in the HR area, says she has observed, in an overview of the market, the increase in anxiety among workers. Not necessarily for work reasons, but for the general scenario. According to her list, “isolation, continuous caution against exposure to the virus, social detachment, deprivation of living with the family, bereavement, job cuts and increased unemployment, financial loss and closing companies” are some of the reasons.
The external pressure exerted by the factors that we do not control, undoubtedly increases the cases of anxiety and depression, from the mildest to the most severe stages.
All the ingredients of an extreme scenario like the pandemic, seem to facilitate this type of illness or psychological disorder. Suspicion confirmed by Karen to Tecnoblog:
“Scenarios like the pandemic, are extreme situations that increase the demand for psychological assistance. In March and April, the CFP- Federal Council of Psychology received around 51 thousand new certification requests for professionals to perform online consultations. ”
The psychologist also recalls that the demands for care that she can observe from March to September this year, were mostly related to issues of grief and depression.
The role of HRs
A series of recommendations are made by the psychologist for companies to seek to minimize the damage caused by this atypical situation. Among the main ones are the respect for the workday, the time reserve of the manager to deal directly with each employee, individually, listening and welcoming the personal demands of each one.
This is an important initiative, considering that many employees are going through moments of losses, illnesses and adaptation to the new work reality. With a little individualized attention, problems and damage can be minimized.
Too many meetings
“Excessive meetings, even if in person, compromise the productivity of the work teams, but occasional meetings with relevant themes help to maintain a healthy relationship between the company and employees, since they are tools for aligning goals, objectives, planning, collaboration of ideas, communication and information sharing for the employee and from the employee to the leaders and customers. ”, explains the HR professional to the Tecnoblog.
How to relieve symptoms?
The symptoms of exhaustion arise from the loss of reference of the private employee in the workplace. The house and the office started to be in the same place. In this scenario, Karen says that it is necessary, after hours, to seek activities that provide pleasure and relaxation. “As an initiative of the employee, we can mention the practice of physical exercises, yoga, meditation, reading or even the practice of recreational activities such as: Drawing, music, sewing, among other manual activities.”
These leisure moments help to focus on something other than work, reducing the feeling of “constant work”.
Future of labor relations
An observation from the future is that many companies have already dismantled their offices and today they have entire teams working remotely. According to Karen, it can be a movement with no return.
“We do not believe as HR that at the end of the pandemic, the teams will return to the physical spaces in full.”
The professional’s bet is on a hybrid model with partial remote work, because the face-to-face and relationships within the work environment are beneficial and are not limited to the approach of people, but also for their development and creativity.
Search for attention: excess of online press conferences
The problem with excessive press conferences, launch events and product updates in the online environment is felt by journalists and communicators. If before a face-to-face event needed physical production and agenda control for the professionals to be present, with isolation, this work disappeared.
The companies are in an unbridled search for attention, fighting for the “audience” of the communicators, in some cases, disorderly. With everyone at home, just an internet connection is required to participate in the event, think the event’s producers.
Not quite. If companies schedule multiple simultaneous events trying to deflate the competing event, they may be shooting themselves in the foot. The media make choices, after all, not all vehicles have a large staff so that they can cover any and all events.
In the worst case, the quality of the content generated should drop. Whenever the communicator is in more than one simultaneous event, he will never have 100% attention on him, which is essential to produce quality content.
In my humble opinion as a journalist, do not abandon the release. For smaller matters, where a release is sufficient, choose it. Leave events online for launches commensurate with the attention needed.
The cost of producing an online event is, in fact, much lower compared to the costs of an in-person event. The classroom includes: space rental, food or coffee breakteam staff large, lighting, sound, etc.
Online events exclude at least the cost of space, food, and reduced staff, that are a big part of the budget. The reduction in values attracted companies that previously did not hold events, due to lack of funds. It is a sufficient justification for the increase in the number of new events and the growth of already known editions. The battlefield for the attention of communicators has been expanded.
Excessive communication in the Home Office
To seek a balance on how excessive communication has affected employees, I interviewed the IT professional George Moraes, 33, giving the view of the worker who is in this new situation after social isolation.
George says that in the beginning there was friction between the company’s management and employees who, for security reasons, started to work in a home office. The friction occurred due to management inexperience with the model. After an adaptation period of 2 months the main problems were solved.
What were the main problems?
In the beginning, due to the novelty of the work system for the company, there was an increase in the demands for online meetings, higher than the number previously practiced. The wear and tear came because these meetings were mainly aimed at solving questions about work processes, rules and the like.
Another problem caused by the inexperience of the management was the excess of control over the activities of the employees. All the time they needed to be connected to the communication system, with a microphone on and an active camera.
At meetings of feedback employees pointed out this issue as a lack of confidence at work, which generated stress for fear of exposure to intimacy, since their families could move around the house.
The problem was solved when the demands were delivered, increasing management’s confidence in its team, which was mostly made up of new employees.
Not everything is a problem
Not for George. The IT professional said that the positive use of two other stressors, fear of job loss and wear and tear to the work environment, gave the team strength to overcome management expectations and thus gain their confidence.
“I must be the oldest on the team, the young kids always wanted to work from home.”
The company was not far behind and with adaptations to the new scenario, it provided equipment for all employees in their homes: computers, monitors, headsets, webcams and everything that could assist in the performance of functions.
George highlights Tecnoblog that simply didn’t meet the demands, but the deliveries grew very fast. Projects that were delayed, are now advanced, the volume grew and exceeded expectations.
The feeling of “more work” was overcome by the employees due to the desire to maintain the method of home office. George shows concern for older employees, “it is not our case, but people who have worked on the previous model all their lives may find it difficult to adapt, even for us it is difficult to maintain concentration, sometimes, and not to leave the job if mix with personal life. ”
What is the future of work?
For George, the future of work is hybrid, with companies maintaining small offices and alternating their teams, as needed, in face-to-face operations.
Care must come due to excessive meetings:
“I already had to participate in two meetings at the same time, with my company and client, and I had to leave one of them silent to pay attention to the most important one for delivering results”.
For the IT professional, the important thing is to avoid situations where the choice can result in a loss for both sides, being obliged to choose the least worst situation. The employee placed in this type of situation is exposed to a high stress load and the tendency is that his performance will drop.
Change of focus: on-site to online [Sympla]
Problems do exist, but turning them into profitable alternatives is an art. To confirm the previous sentence, I interviewed head of Digital Products from Sympla, Diego Eis, questioning, mainly, how the company has adapted to the post-pandemic scenario. Sympla provides a platform for managing and selling tickets to events.
Social isolation: adaptation and opportunity
Diego tells the Tecnoblog how Sympla saw this situation of social isolation with the prohibition of face-to-face events, with ideas for adaptation or as an opportunity to expand business. For him, changes were necessary, but there was also the opportunity to advance the launch of a project.
“With the pandemic, the entire event market was impacted and forced to think about new business formats to move forward. In order to assist producers and event organizers, we anticipate a project that was scheduled for the second half of this year, Sympla Streaming. It is a tool for online event transmission, dynamic, simple and with daily growth since its launch in April this year. We have always had an average of 1,500 online events for sale on the platform, but with the pandemic, that number has increased to over 11,000 online events, with over 3,000 of them happening via Sympla Streaming. ”
Increase in online events
With the social isolation and ban on face-to-face events, it became clear that the number of offers in the online model has grown. Regarding the adaptation of the market to the new scenario, Diego was straightforward in explaining Tecnoblog. “With the pandemic, many organizers who were already used to online, found it easier to adapt. Those who were not, are adapting to the new scenario to move on. This whole movement, which was necessary, adds new perspectives to the market. ”
The future of the event market
Asked about the future of the event market, in his view and that of Sympla, Diego was clear: “We understand that the pandemic made the whole market look for ways to reinvent itself and showed the need for hybrid business models. Face-to-face events are starting to return, but the offer for online experiences remains very strong. ”
The mix between classroom and online are alternatives for a part of the sector, possibly, this transformation has come to stay for a long time, in the opinion of head of Digital Products from Sympla. The opportunity to reach a larger number of people for the same event is evident, without physical limitations, such as a city, for example.
With all the interviews and ideas about the scenario, some points stand out as solutions to overcome this period of uncertainty. Care must be redoubled, by both the company and its employees, so that productivity is maintained, even increased, without psychological disorders for workers.
Opportunities are emerging, not only for the event market, but in general. Every day, people and companies are adapting and looking for new ways to offer their work with quality. In short, the overdose of remote communication will not be a problem if the tools are used with awareness and the action plan is designed for the well-being of people.