Before the coronavirus was even a blip on the world’s radar, working from home was considered a perk, one that was used sparingly in South Africa. Today, it’s the norm, with dining room tables converted to work desks and kids and pets regularly interrupting business meetings with colleagues.
Remote working is necessary to enable many businesses to carry on operating, while simultaneously protecting the health of their employees. But there’s a significant difference between choosing to work remotely on the odd occasion and it being a directive from the government, with no tangible end in sight.
Physical distancing is obligatory during this pandemic, however, it raises very real and unavoidable challenges for those working from home. Aside from the obvious like connectivity issues, technology hiccups and distractions (The garden service mowing the lawn, washing that needs to be hung up, home schooling kids – take your pick!), there are also emotional and mental considerations.
“There’s never been a more important time for businesses to keep staff motivated and mentally connected,” says Adrian Zanetti, general manager at Hey Jude, the world’s first human-powered digital assistant. “And during this period of physical distancing, it’s access to technology that’s really enabling organisations to look after the wellbeing and morale of their employees.”
At its core, Hey Jude is a service that gets things done. By relieving some of the mental strain these daily tasks can have, Hey Jude helps members live life a little better each time they use the service. However, Hey Jude’s pièce de résistance, is its team of human “Judes”, who man the service, providing just that human interaction that employees need. Not only are they helping employees get tasks done, but they also provide a welcome link to an outside world.
“Our Judes handle a vast array of lifestyle tasks every day, and these can range from finding a supplier of contact lenses to getting medication delivered. But the longer the lockdown lasts, the more we’re seeing requests for things like finding motivational speakers, arranging parenting skills webinars and suggesting the best sleep apps. Whatever the task our Judes perform, our corporate clients see the value as it enables them to positively impact the lives of their employees. And, because it easily integrates into existing employee wellness programmes, HR executives can use the service to ensure that their employees are connected and supported while working from home,” says Zanetti.