There’s a Light at the End of the Tunnel – Trends & Business Continuity

Let’s face it. Things are different. The way we work, interact, connect, and even the way we live. We are going through one of, if not THE most significant disruption in history. 

It’s been a few months of learning, adapting, and being innovative and creative to build efficient ways to continue doing business and maintaining that connection with our colleagues, customers, friends, and family. 

The good news is that some positives have come out of this experience. We have an opportunity to challenge the status quo. Let’s look at some of the ways organizations are adapting to change. 

Remote Work Policy Changes 

The long-standing debate about whether companies should have employees work remotely is being tested right now. Let’s be clear. We are not “working from home” we are working from home during a pandemic and balancing demands of our children, partners, and extended family present and/or being isolated mix 24/7. There is no question that face time will be something we want to work towards. Rushing back to a traditional office environment any time soon does not seem to be the right approach.  

According to Forbes, Google are encouraging employees to work remotely until the end of 2020, and many companies are extending their work remote mandate until at least late summer. Bold statements like those we saw on CNN from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said some of their employees would work from home, forever. According to Bloomberg, companies like Opentext will be closing many of their physical office locations resulting in savings of $65 to $75 million annually. There is no doubt other companies will follow suit. 

It begs the question. Do companies value the work employees do or that they are physically in a specific location when they work? 

What will an Office Look Like? 

For many, going back to the office is the plan. Some countries have already started returning to work as they used to know it. Design trends in open office concepts, team meeting rooms, informal meeting lounges, and shared workspaces are all areas of office design that are being revisited. The World Economic Forum recently published an article that shows how office spaces may change and evolve to support social distancing. Some ideas include the social distancing office space with clear guidelines and signage, changing from an open office plan to closed office plans, investing in contactless technologies to open doors to completely rebuilding and redesigning the office space. Simple things like keeping a workspace clean and sanitized and ensuring employees have fresh air seems obvious but will be imperative as we move forward. 

What layout or design changes will you be considering for your office environment? 

How will we greet each other? 

Recently our Head of HR and HR Superhero, Patricia Sharkey, was featured by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) to talk about the fate of the handshake and explore alternatives. From the world-renown Namaste greeting, to elbow bumps to a company secret code greeting, we are assured that even if we can’t shake hands for the short term, there are alternatives so we can respectfully acknowledge each other in a business setting. 

Combatting Burnout 

Companies worldwide are exploring ways to reduce employee burnout. During this pandemic, employees are working longer hours, are more accessible, and don’t always feel or establish a boundary between work and home life when they are working remotely. Fast Company recently spoke to several companies who are implementing four day work weeks, 6 hour days. Some of these tactics are being used for temporary and permanent cost-saving measures and save jobs, but in some cases, it’s part of natural evolution to the way companies approach work/life balance. 

Keeping Employees Engaged 

Our team has helped many companies stay engaged during this pandemic and have witnessed firsthand the level of creativity that can be achieved when engagement and employee sentiment has never been more critical. We are hoping that regular pulse checks to check in on employees and gauge their satisfaction, challenges, and trivia, timely communication of urgent messages, and gathering feedback in a measurable way will continue well beyond this pandemic. We are confident that KPI’s such as Culture Score, Engagement Rating, and Workplace Readiness and Preparedness statistics will be measured on an ongoing basis moving forward. Of course, Rhonda can help with this. Sign up for a 30-day FREE test pilot and experience firsthand the positive impact on your workforce. 

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