Let’s be clear, return to ‘normal’ will be different once the danger of COVI19 transmission passes. Accept that COVID19 or some other superbug can be expected in the future.
Unlike the way we used to work and conduct business, the bounce back to normality needs to be different. Here is some food for thought for transitioning to the next normal.
- Working from home. The transition to working from home was better than expected. Aside from the added pressure of homeschooling, bandwidth and visitor restrictions the adjustment happened quickly. Some are speculating that working from home could become the main place of work. Unfortunately, not all jobs can be done offsite although building in flexibility for some remote working is possible.
The differences between working from home or at the office are more than giving someone a laptop. To be sustainable boundaries need to be created between home life and work life. To create this separation:
- Set office hours – there cannot be an expectation that staff are ‘online’ 24/7
- Track time – if work is performed flexibly and not within 9 to 5 pm, use a mobile tool such as Harvest, ClickTime or something similar like to log time worked
- Agree on no emails or phone calls after a certain hour
- Reset organisational values and office life – In an office setting, people sat in a designated space, there were processes for room booking, visibility was the way people connected and were accountable for work performed. In a home-based remote working environment, the rules of the office are no longer relevant. Create virtual spaces for interaction, networking and connection so that when people are not physically together, they are not socially isolated.
- Enough meetings. In traditional work settings meetings consumed a huge chunk of the working day with little in the way of action and progress. Let’s be honest, many of these meetings were more about territory protection and managing the politics than driving decisions. The upheaval caused by the pandemic has shown that not all meetings may be necessary, and we can function with a lot less of them. Now is the opportunity to foster a mindset of agility:
- Decentralise and flatten decision making – empower people to act and make most of the day-to-day decisions, reduce top-down, command and control approaches. You will find the work rhythm will be faster, trusted relationships will build, decisions will be data-driven and improved as they will be based on learned experience.
It can feel foreign to change the way things have worked traditionally. While the saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, when a global pandemic impacts our ability to work and interact, we find traditional ways of working are no longer sustainable. Verity can help with strategic resource planning; assistance with annualised salaries that came into effect in March 2020; contracts for current and new staff; or even be a soundboard and support bench as you navigate NEXT NORMAL.