Work Place Changes you can expect following the PandemicNatalie Lewis
This pandemic will change the face of the work place forever…
As our lives have become an endless schedule of Zoom calls with friends, colleagues and family, hurried and frantic trips to the supermarket and a weird undercurrent of fear, I’m guessing that many of you will be wondering what the future holds?
As a business owner, director or leader, you are going to need to pull your big girl pants on and prepare yourself for a new beginning.
How will the human mind be impacted by this?
What will employees want going forward?
How can business go back to ‘normal’?
I take a look at the main elements I think we as leaders should prepare for in the coming months:
How can you deal with staff fear?
So your staff will have been in lock down for many weeks, they will have been watching the news and been plagued (excuse the pun) by a whole load of scaremongering and fake news. They’ll have been exposed to mixed messages about their personal safety and will have concerns about their financial health too.
They will be well aware that businesses are struggling and will most likely be terrified of losing their jobs. All of this is a lot of fear for humans to deal with and it will change people’s attitudes, perceptions and priorities.
Fear often causes mistrust, so when we come back to work, you as leaders will need to prepare to deal with this fear and these changes.
A strong, positive culture will matter more than ever. I mean it! A strong vision, values and caring leader will be critical for a business to survive and thrive.
How will staff attitudes change?
It’s highly likely that your staff will have had plenty of time on their hands and that means plenty of time to think. Some will have realised that they love their jobs, others will realise that the last thing they want to do it come back to work for you!
Consider this …. Some people will no longer be happy working with others in close quarters. Some will have realised that they actually work better and more productively on their own, without the buzz of the office. People’s perception of work and the framework within which they used to work will have changed. The confines of the office will feel less necessary. Most of your staff will be expecting you to do things differently going forward. We will all be working in a ‘new normal’.
Will my staff have new priorities?
Society was changing anyway, even without this pandemic, what people want from their jobs was changing. I simply see this pandemic as a catalyst to this massive change in priorities.
People want to work fewer hours, they want a sense of purpose and they want leaders that give a sh*t about them!
Think about it, many people will have re-prioritised what they want in life from this crisis. Some will have lost loved ones, some will have not seen loved ones for months. Others will have loved spending more time with their kids and have realised that they don’t want to work long hours in the office any more. Others will be desperate to get back to work, having been cooped up with their partners and kids for far too long!
Remember that serious events initiate serious conversations. We’re seeing our friends and family get ill, lose income and we’re feeling the strain of being isolated. Many of your team will come back stressed, worried and emotionally depleted.
The question when people return to the ‘new normal’ should be “what matters to you now?” We need to be speaking to the hearts and minds of our people. If you never ask, you’ll never know.
What will be the new workplace expectations?
I can guarantee that if you’ve treated your staff with kindness and shown them that you care throughout this time, they will be grateful. If you show them the same when they return to work and listen, actually listen to them and work with them to fulfil their new expectations, they will show their loyalty.
Express your gratitude and appreciation for their commitment to you and you will be able to foster an incredible amount of good will.
It’s highly likely that working fewer hours for the same pay and flexible working will be top of the list of expectations. I believe this is something that we as business owners can take advantage of. We’ve now learnt that our staff can work just as productively from home and that we can trust them to do so. We’ve learnt that they can be just as productive (if not more) in fewer hours.
Do we really need to carry on as we did before the pandemic – working crazy hours and being the least productive country in Europe?
I don’t think so!
To summarise, I believe we will see a significant increase in;
- Flexible working
- Virtual (home) working
- Employees wanting a shorter/no commute
- Working from co-working spaces rather than one central office hub
- The 4-day working week or employees working fewer hours on the same salary
- Businesses focusing on developing a stronger work culture
- Leaders leading with compassion, empathy and emotional intelligence
- Individualised feedback and development plans
- A focus on work-life blend with people having an improved home life
- Addressing well-being and financial well-being for all employees.
I’m working hard on bringing you an online programme which will help business leaders and employees hit the ground running when we get back to work. The programme will bring you and action plan for increased clarity, productivity and future resilience. Watch this space! To register your interest (no obligation), pop me a message here.