It should come as no surprise that the nature of work has undergone a drastic transformation over the last year. COVID-19 has redefined how workers at every level need to do their jobs safely and efficiently. Regardless of the sector, there is an undeniable need to emphasise safety and security for employees as we head towards a “new normal.” In order to ensure a successful implementation, workplaces need to draw from what was working before and what is now necessary due to unprecedented circumstances.
Before COVID-19 happened, the majority of work took place outside of the home, in a physical place of business. Now, living rooms have become virtual offices and in-person meetings are a thing of the past, replaced largely by video calls. While the conditions that brought us here were hectic, the results have taught us a lot.In a connected world, a workplace is just a notion. Depending on your business, a Wi-Fi connection and a mobile phone can create workplaces anywhere.
Thanks to what is in many ways a large-scale social experiment, “working from home” is no longer looked at as a last resort when absolutely necessary, but a way for employees and businesses to thrive under the right conditions. The roles have reversed: a year ago most employees would probably be overjoyed at the thought of a week of working from the couch, and now most can’t wait to have the option of returning to the office in some capacity. Finding the middle ground will be the key to success for businesses in the future.
One thing that has been made clear is what will not work anymore - and that is an old-fashioned hierarchical organisation that can muddle decision-making by deferring only to rank. Shaking up the physical structure of the workplace can also lead to a decentralisation of the inner management structure, allowing for greater agility and reliance on expertise and merit rather than rank. In this way decisions can be quickly made by those most adept at solving a particular problem, without having to travel up the chain of command.
In a physical office setting, it’s possible to monitor the general well-being of employees through face-to-face interactions, which can give one a good reading of someone’s mood.As remote work has become not only more popular but increasingly necessary, it's more important than ever to get creative in ensuring that employees feel supported. Without this support, productivity will suffer. In order to allow for harmony between well-being and productivity, equip your team with efficient tech tools that can assist managers to check employee output remotely while also empowering employees to voice their satisfaction.
You may hear some people talk about going “back to normal” when the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, but economic and social trends say otherwise. This doesn’t have to be scary, and a number of resources exist to alleviate the expected aches and pains of transitioning to a new normal. From past experience, we’ve seen how it sometimes takes urgency to move forward and embrace a new, and better, future.
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