In a few short months, a pandemic has transformed work and workplaces in a way that change management strategies never could.

Social distancing, contact tracing, working remotely and, from home are the new normal. Working and workplaces in the future will be different. As many hope to salvage pre-COVID ways of working – as though it was only a blip in the year- let’s be clear, the future is different. Ensure the return of team members back to the workplace is well considered. For working in a different future, here are 3 areas of advice to kick off.

People-first: mental and physical health and safety are paramount

Lead with a safety mindset. Manage business risk and consider the measures and controls to be introduced that are specific to COVID-19. Reset expectations for team members, suppliers and others who interact with your team and facilities. Build-in well-being programs that show care and help reduce anxiety and mental stress of living in a COVID-19 world. Rethink office layout and core hours to enable staggered start and finish times. Anticipate and plan for stay-at-home working. Implement automatic contact tracing that protects privacy but ensures exposures can be identified quickly.

Be adaptive and learn to scale up or down quickly

Working in a different future requires letting go of how things have always been done.  The workplace will be an alternative place of business and not the core place any longer. Use data more effectively to determine how costs can be reduced and productivity maintained or increased when having to operate at 30% or 50% of in-person capacity for periods of time. Investigate and accelerate digital solutions that may help bridge the gap. For example, do you have an “add to cart” option for your business? If not, this may be the time to build this into your product and service offering.

Rethink your real estate footprint

The upside of COVID is that working remotely and from home can be an effective alternative to leased premises. It has exposed processes that stood in the way of operating more efficiently. There is an opportunity to work better with digital tools. Working in a different future helps us pinpoint where costs may be reduced. Consider what might be permanent and what can be reduced in the way of physical business premises.

Do you need direction or more advice on working in a different future? Verity Consulting can help with that, contact us today.