The Coronavirus pandemic still rages across the world and upended the daily lives of people. The workplaces are also changing drastically due to COVID-19, we see an increased focus on employee health and sanitization, work from home has become the “new normal” and COVID-19 resulted in the most rapid transformation of the workplace. We see the digitization of the relationship between firm and customer to digitizing the relationship between employer and employee. We have been catapulted forward, fast-tracking trends such as automation, digitalization, and innovation.
Workplaces are now more distributed and high powered with a rise in technology being implemented to tackle working with fewer people in the office. The way we worked before is merged with how we are working under pandemic conditions.
Coronavirus changed the way we work:
#1. It forced us to move the workforce online
Losing the ability to go to the office or commuting to work has now forced people using technology for virtual meetings, conferences, and events. In the middle of a pandemic, people lack face-to-face interaction and this led to a decline in mental health, unhealthier work-life balance, and slower communication.
#2. Changed the way productivity was measured
Before the pandemic started, employees would go to the office and stay there for the traditional nine to five. Productivity was measured with employees present in their cubicles heads down and indirect oversight of the manager. The global pandemic forced organizations to address the issue to measure productivity, with more focus on output rather than logged hours. Still, many traditional managers do a lot of micromanagement which needs to be changed.
#3. More control over working hours
Nine- to five doesn’t work for everyone. Employees with children or elder parents might need an extra hour(s) in the morning to manage childcare and parents. Another employee might think they are more productive starting early on the day. Hence, restricting all employees to the same hours without taking into account individual circumstances is becoming a thing of the past.
#4. Keep the culture alive
Before the pandemic had hit, it may have seemed impossible for many small, medium companies to compete with the larger company’s culture. In reality, the smaller firms have an advantage over larger organizations, like being agile and having a closer bond with the employees. To keep employees aligned and engaged, organizations are recommending remote hangouts, where every employee can get together on video chat. It keeps the tribe active.
#5. Being sensitive to employees
This period has required all of us to be supportive of one another, as we all face uncertainty. In the midst of social distancing, many of us are getting closer, building adaptive teams. Checking on employee’s well-being and everything they need to perform their job well is the need of the hour.
Prior to COVID, there was this illusion that the traditional office was dead and everyone would be working from home, but the number of people working from home for a long time still remains relatively low. Since flexible working doesn’t always have a positive connotation, it can mean working for long hours. A massive amount of training, educating required, and develop the mindset, culture of the leadership team in relation to when and where people work.
One thing to stay here is when we do come out of pandemic; things won’t be the same as before.
Author – Moumita Ray
Moumita Ray is a human resource leader with rich experience in designing & developing strategies, processes, enhancing capabilities and building culture to help businesses achieve its excellence.