To say the coronavirus has had an slight impact on the way the world “works” would be an understatement. The future of work arrived out of nowhere on the back of a once-in-a-century pandemic with employee safety at the forefront of all of our concerns. In a matter of weeks, the global economy shifted from a society that viewed remote work as a luxury, or even a “freelancer lifestyle,” to realising the vast majority of jobs today can be done from home. Companies that hadn’t moved the majority of their assets to the cloud are now doing so at a rapid pace. Video calls have gone from being a suboptimal alternative to a core function of the way we communicate. The list goes on and on—and the impact is here to stay.
While many managers have toiled through difficult times before, the rapid global spread of the novel coronavirus has brought a troubling new twist. Unlike natural disasters the virus doesn’t hit once and go away. It has lingered, leaving organisations and employees uncertain about their next steps.
Procedures during the crisis
While the pandemic forced most organisations to find creative solutions for getting work done remotely to ensure employee safety, it has been a particular challenge for organisations with cultures and work processes built around face-to-face contact. With that said, keeping business running all while keeping the health of your employees safe has bee a crucial priority for most businesses, whether it’s from home or the office.
Working from home or Going back to the office?
Worldwide, there will undoubtedly be fewer people in the office – and it may not work for some but the situation may be latter for those who have found they were more productive. Many organisations may have little choice but to limit the numbers of workers on-site to ensure employee safety. Staggered shifts, enforced flexitime, and working remotely may become the norm. As the manager, you need to evaluate what would work best for your team.
Although lockdowns are becoming more relaxed around the world and people return back to work to attempt a more normal working schedule. The next challenge will be adapting open office spaces to the new normal of strict screenings, personal hygiene and physical distancing.
Employees returning to work, open place working Spaces.
While the merits and disadvantages of open plan and flexible workspaces have long been debated, the risk they pose of allowing dangerous, highly contagious viruses to spread also must be considered ensuring employee safety. Co-working spaces are characterised by shared areas and amenities with surfaces that need constant cleaning. Droplets from a single sneeze can travel over 7 metres, and surfaces within pods or booths, designed for privacy, could remain hazardous for days.
However, with careful consideration and planning, you can create an open working space for your office, where collaboration and safety can both kept in mind. The sense of community and the ability to share knowledge and ideas are key attractions of co-working, especially if kept at a safe distance all while removing the ‘cubicles’ where infections may fester.
All of these worries, potential infections and critical measures will need to be fore-planned, we suggest you invest in crisis management to give your business the most support it will need to comply with protocols and to remain safe in operation. However, you must also be aware of not only your employees health, but their mental wellbeing as well. Additional stress from this pandemic may cause your employees presenteesim rates to increase, which affect the operations of your business. This is where an excellent Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will be able to give your employees the extra support and attention they may need during this uncertain time.
More frequent communication. Among managers, direct reports, clients, and colleagues.
Communication inside corporations and corporate offices will increase and may have already during this unpredictable time. In fact, even before the novel coronavirus, necessary leadership and management skills and qualities had been trending toward vulnerability, empathy, emotional intelligence, active listening, and transparency. After the global pandemic has passed, these qualities and skills will be even more mainstream.
Organisational psychologists predicts that, as coworkers return to the office, they’ll ditch previous messaging habits and actually get up, walk around and visit with each other in person. Workplace friendships could flourish among colleagues who relied on each other during the pandemic and got to know one another on a more personal level. Although this may be a roadblock for many organisations while continuing with operations functioning fully. With the correct support systems, your employees could still flourish in this environments and employee safety remaining a top priority.
Greater Collaboration and Colleague Relationships
Under quarantine and under fear of sickness (and worse), executives and professionals of all levels have been getting used to sharing their anxieties, worries, and fears with their colleagues and clients. And what’s made this global pandemic—which hopefully is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—so unique and different from other tragic events. It’s affected every corner of the world, every country, every community, every company, every age group, every nationality, every socioeconomic group.
We’ve learned the hard way that we’re all connected, that our lives and livelihoods are at risk if we don’t work together. The resilience of your workforce will depend on the support that you give them and the way that you adapt your business to the pandemic.