How COVID-19 Has Changed The Way We Work For The Better
- A round-up of some of the most positive success stories to come out of the pandemic
- A supportive culture is vital for motivation and engagement
- Combining personal and professional lives can be morale-boosting and foster a team spirit.
This year has been extremely challenging for everyone. From businesses to individuals, we have all been affected one way or another by the Coronavirus pandemic. While we know that many businesses have had an extremely difficult year, some businesses have managed to turn their fortunes around. In fact, many businesses are enjoying some very positive changes that have come out of the situation.
There is no denying the way we work has changed, but in many ways, it has changed for the better.
During this unprecedented time, we have seen companies and employees embrace new skills and develop new behaviours which have improved the way we operate. Many businesses have managed to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for change, but just how has this year helped change the way we work for the better?
Office Culture To Supportive Culture
For decades, we have been engrained to believe that 9 to 5, office-centric work was the best thing for business. As thousands of employees have been forced to work from home, and companies have had to embrace this change, we’re experiencing a change in productivity and employee freedom.
This shift in working life has encouraged businesses to take only the best parts of office culture, and free employees from inefficient processes and bad habits. Leaders are switching their focus from office culture to a more supportive culture, with a new focus on how to improve the lives of employees while still getting the best from them.
One excellent example of this is how Hisense Mexico embraced home working and supporting their team through this difficult time. Their top priority has been to keep team members at home and safe, while also keeping them motivated, engaged and informed.
Hisense encouraged open communication by holding regular virtual meetings, sending newsletters, and even throwing virtual birthday parties. Even post-pandemic, Hisense aim to continue with this supportive new culture they have created.
As thousands of workers have had to work remotely over the last few months, and employee health being the top priority for most businesses going forward, we are expecting a prolonged period of virtual working. Many companies are taking steps towards hybrid working environments, where teams can work both remotely and in the office.
This shift in the way we work has seen a rise in companies becoming ‘virtual first’. This means that workplaces are being distributed across offices and homes, and employees have the freedom to choose how they work.
For companies to successfully work in this innovative way, they must be virtual-ready. Leaders must know how to effectively manage, train and evaluate virtually, and technology must be in place to enable virtual working.
Remote communications are an area of technology that businesses are being forced to embrace. This means cloud storage is used for data and security measures in place for different modes of working. The Coronavirus pandemic is driving these transformations and innovations in many different ways.
A Crash Course On Modern Technology
The entire workforce has had no choice but to develop new skills and experiences during this pandemic. Our population has been forced into a crash course on modern technology, and the result is that more people than ever have the skills and knowledge to work effectively from anywhere.
Businesses have been forced to embrace technologies in ways never done before. For example, Estee Lauder worked quickly to incorporate technology into their point-of-sale. They’ve used innovative ‘virtual try-on’ features to allow customers to try out their products in a safe and secure manner.
Nike is another excellent example of a company that has embraced technologies to help alter the way they work during these stranger times. Their teams worked together quickly in order to allow more stock to be sold online than ever before.
There is no denying that these new skills and technologies that we have had to embrace will continue to help businesses flourish in a post-pandemic world. Many employees and companies would never have had the opportunity or reason to become so clued up on modern technologies if it hadn’t been for Coronavirus.
Overlapping Personal And Professional Lives
For years we have been keeping our professional lives and personal lives at a distance, with little overlap between the two. With the rise of Zoom meetings and remote working, it has given us an insight into team member’s private spaces.
Every video call and virtual meeting makes the personal lives of colleagues, managers and clients visible. We are now used to seeing employees’ children and pets on-screen, interrupting meetings and phone calls on a regular basis.
While this might seem like a distraction to the working day, in actual fact, these little glimpses into our personal lives can improve workplace relationships. When working from home, it is almost impossible to keep up an entirely professional persona, giving colleagues an insight into the real, personal life of team members.
These personal interactions are not unprofessional. Instead, they allow teams to connect and get to know each other in a new way. Overlapping personal and professional lives can help teams to work better together and understand one another’s everyday challenges.
Increased Focus On Mental Wellbeing
The Coronavirus pandemic has seen a sharp rise in mental health issues. While this is in no way a positive outcome, it has resulted in businesses focusing more closely on employee’s mental wellbeing. Companies are doing more than ever to protect and promote positive mental wellbeing among teams; a trend that will continue even as the world returns to normal.
Many employers, such as Ipsen, have been prioritising mental health even before the pandemic. But these difficult times have made many businesses realise mental wellbeing is more important than ever. Ipsen trained teams on mental health and appointed health and wellbeing advocates to help support employees.
This focus on mental wellbeing in the workplace is set to keep momentum, even in a post-pandemic world. With many businesses having been forced to understand and acknowledge the importance of mental wellbeing at work.
So, as we look forward to a new year, we hope that many of these positive work outcomes such as a greater focus on mental health and wellbeing, more freedom and flexibility for employees and outstanding innovations will keep workforces happy and healthy while businesses will remain as creative, responsive and successful.