Relational resilience in a digital workplace : a human resource inquiry
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The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people work together, particularly how colleagues communicate with one another in a remote work setting. With the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, all organisations in Canada were mandated to move their employees to work from home to slow the spread of the virus. This resulted in the work from home phenomenon (WFH) and a transposition of the social aspects of work and relations between colleagues. This study investigates the WFH phenomenon through the lens of workplace communication and applies the findings to the practice of HR and organisational leadership. Through the use of adaptive structuration theory (AST), which proposes the idea of soft technological determinism, the study explains the introduction and utilisation of information and communication technologies in the workplace, particularly for a workforce with low digital literacy. The study reveals the absence of organisational policies and legislation on remote work, while acknowledging the challenges created by differences between organisations, unique features of various communication software, and varying individual preferences. Furthermore, the results demonstrate the importance of workplace relationships in organisational resilience and the role that HR and organisational leaders play in supporting a culture that promotes flexibility and openness.