WFH can put a break in your employee productivity. Here’s how you can arrest it.
22Oct, 2020

WFH can put a break in your employee productivity. Here’s how you can arrest it.


7 months into Pandemic and there seems no ray of hope to see an end to this and the WFH has turned into a nightmare for Monica (name changed). 

Monica remembers how excited and motivated she was to try distance working and virtual meetings when lockdown was announced in India back in March for 21 days. Monica is a Manager of the Marketing team where she has few people reporting to her and she has to coordinate with interdepartmental teams as a part of her work. Monica is an introvert and empathic in personal life, but is assertive, vocal and proactive when it comes to work and is highly organized. 

But the past few months have profoundly changed her life. Now she has a list of things in her bedside table that are reminders about checking her tasks. “I’m not a lazy person, but the past few months have turned me into a lost soul” says Monica.

At the same time, her role in the company was elevated when others were getting laid off, where she had to perform more tasks than before. She has her department head’s support, but more responsibilities surely made her juggle a lot, which could have been a lot different if the new role had come onto her plate when things were normal. She is now putting more time into learning and then executing the work. 

She also takes out some time on weekends to finish up her work. Monica suffers from Fear of taking annual leaves (FOTAL) where she struggles to even apply for a leave which leaves no room for her to release her stress and feel fresh and tuned with her work. The question of spending some time with her friends and family is out of the picture with the struggle she is going through. She is now struggling to meet her deadlines and her mind is not able to focus on everything together. At times, she declines her meeting or tries to postpone the meetings to avoid any questions. This is another signal she gave out.

All these things together are making her feel burnout and resulting in workplace fatigue. 

Do you know someone who is going through the same feeling as Monica? Have you noticed any such signals in your employees or your colleagues? 


Let’s put the fish on the table: 

With the work pressures building up, employees are not able to channelize their energy and focus in one direction.  This call for organizations to keep a tight watch on employee feedback and analyze all reactions and feelings that pour in towards the changing work situations. 


Are you concerned that the new normal will have a negative impact on your employees? 

Will employees be able to adjust to a healthy form of working from home? How will they feel more motivated and productive in this difficult time? WFH is affecting us and companies will have to act on it before it’s too late. 

Watching out for some early warning signs will enable you to arrest employee fatigue on the onset. Here are also some ways in which you could tackle them. 


  • They have a fear of commitment for deadlines 


The term 9-to 5-job is surely getting out of context. Employees are stretching their working hours to submit their project and to meet their deadlines. Work that could take 2 days in an office might take 3 to 4 days to complete based on the amenities like high internet speed, proper tools and resources, etc. 

According to Chief Executive, only 47% of employers have the capacities or processes in place to meet a crisis with the best possible outcome. So it is natural that a slight turn of events can delay the project or force the employees/team to extend the deadline. 

Watch out for signs where an employee or a certain team keeps stretching their deadline often or fails to estimate the bandwidth for a project or are unable to meet the deadlines for almost all the projects; because constantly extending deadlines can cause employee burnout as the work never seems to complete. 

A quick intervention to support the employee or team with additional resources or project planning or even distribution of work will help to bring the flow of work back to usual. 



  • They may have trouble balancing work and family lives.


According to Buffer, 22% of remote employees say that they struggle to unplug after work. There is a fine line between work life and personal life and it seems to be fading away. With the extend period of WFH there is a huge surge in fatigue because the feeling of being constantly engaged in work is daunting – be it home chores or official work. 

A tired mind is only active, not productive. Watch out for signs of stress or exhaustion; especially among employees who live with extended families or dependent children or adults. 

As a solution you could explore having certain days of the month as a reduced working hours rather than an entire day off or proactively encourage employees to take their accrued leaves, of course in a planned manner. Encourage team leaders to remain empathic and supportive where necessary and help team members find a balance between work and family commitments. 



  • They are not up to date with the company happenings


Building a great and effective communication strategy is not easy and it requires persistent rethinking and the right technology. Poor internal communication can break or damage your business in many ways and it has a direct impact on employees’ motivation, morale and performance. 

According to Trade Press Services, 85% of employees say they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news. Even after continuous internal communication if the employees are not responding or keeping track of the organization news then it is a clear sign that they are burnout. 

To stay ahead of it and to make sure your employees are tuned with the company happenings, organization must first ensure that the first communication is sent out from one source – preferably Management or HR – and employees at all rungs on the corporate ladder are given the same message. The same message can be then communicated by the managers in virtual team meetings to ensure that the message has reached everyone in time. 



  • They are struggling to keep up a conversation during virtual meetings


Firstly, we warn you to not generalize everyone into this category. As there are different personalities at workplace, for someone who has always been reserved and less talkative or is an introvert may still be the same and not actively participate in a virtual meeting, but someone who is an extrovert and has always been the one to initiate or keep up a conversation suddenly struggle to hold a conversation, business or non-business, is surely throwing some signal to act on. 

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 75% of employees say they feel more socially isolated (Harvard Business Review). When everyone has almost locked and distanced themselves from others, organizations can act on this and think of some engagement activities or brainstorming sessions between teams virtually to help combat the isolation. 

A not so traditional approach could be where HR joins team calls from time to time so that HR can observe the signs of isolation among employees and swiftly offer an open channel of communication to employees who want to discuss the same with HR in one to one virtual meeting.



  • Lack of participation in business or non-business activities


We don’t deny that the work pressure has increased to some extent which may not allow employees to actively participate in all the activities organized by the HR be it business related or for some fun Friday activities but if someone shows no presence in any such activities, they may need some special attention by the HR.

Organizations can now with the help of tech enabled platforms track the daily mood of their employees, like the Mood-o-Meter which can help them analyze employee mood patterns which in turn enable them to isolate instances that drive employee moods. It will also enable them to jump in early with initiatives to energize the employee mood and therefore morale. 



  • They are less likely to acknowledge others efforts 


82% of employees think it’s better to give someone praise than a gift.

A culture of appreciation should be inculcated amongst employees to boost employee morale and it is believed that peer to peer recognition is more impactful than manager to subordinate recognition and appreciation. For someone, who always ensured to acknowledge a little help and appreciated the efforts put by their teammates not doesn’t even address their efforts as a behaviour or generalizes it as a part of their day to day job is a signal that they are not willing to appreciate the efforts. 

As everything has moved to digital these days, having a platform that helps employees thank and appreciate each other’s efforts in the virtual work environment is a must. Tools like Buzzz are sought after peer-to-peer recognition platforms that allow employees to buzz or recognize each other real time whilst the acknowledgement is visible to everyone within the organization. 


Companies that frequently check the pulse of the employees will be able to track how their employees are feeling and can take actions based on hard facts & data; to  come up with a solution to tackle it. 

Buzzz is a one stop solution for companies to track their employees daily mood, communicate with their employees, run engagement activities, recognize employees for their efforts and also reward them instantly. Start for free with Buzzz, book a demo now.

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