What got us here won’t get us through the next phase. It’s not RETURN to work. We have been working, we have never stopped working, we have had to work through a pandemic and peak of change and stress so we need to move from using the term return to work. There is no returning, but we have to commit to continuing better. Let’s talk about how to move to the next phase by defining what the phase looks like so we can address it appropriately. According to LinkedIn’s latest Workforce Confidence Index report, two attributes that emerged at the top of what employees value about a physical workplace are in-person collaboration & networking. However, we don’t have to focus on a pre-covid rigid work structure to achieve these. Here are three tips for organization leaders to keep in mind:
Keep your EARS TO THE GROUND ( Internally and externally)
What do my employees want? what does the external environment dictate? How do the internal and external systems interact? Organizations can no longer pretend that the social economy does not impact the company. From suppliers, talent, employees through to the final product consumers social and economic issues would affect your bottom line.
Decentralize DECISION MAKING
Time to move from ‘we make all the decisions because we have to get through the pandemic’. It is time to figure out an operational mechanism (if you didn’t have one before the pandemic) where decision-making includes collaboration and managers at the front lines have a perspective and contributions.
HEALTH is “STILL” wealth
Continue to keep health at the forefront; mental physical, emotional health of employees. Providing resources in form of benefits but also speaking out loud and encouraging a culture that puts people and health first. This starts from the top and the leadership enabling a culture that normalizes NOT being ok, seeking care, taking time off.
We may or may not be returning to the workplace, but we have always been at work so let’s take the lessons gained from the last year and develop new ways of working without losing sight of what matters.