The word on the street is that our current age is now clearly divided into BC (Before Covid) and AC (After Covid). While somewhat amusing, it is hard to argue with. Our world as we knew it changed drastically in a matter of 6 months, thanks to a virus that spread globally at warp speed.
While businesses and national economies are measuring the impact of this unprecedented hit, the common theme that runs through organisations and employees alike is how to prepare for the least expected changes in a post covid world.
There are the obvious changes to the health and safety measures that an organisation is responsible for in a workplace, however the impact of covid runs a lot deeper.
Organisations today are re-looking at functionality right from getting lean on the headcount to getting lean on spaces. The restriction of movement in many countries saw leadership and management come together for creative solutions to keep work going. Some of these interventions have shown organisations how they can redefine their approach to work.
Business continuity: Organisation today will design Business Continuity Plans keeping in mind something they didn’t have to in the last 50 years, a pandemic. This means, team structures will upgrade itself to have remote and virtual teams with equal weight as the traditional structures. Flexibility for remote working, being able to drive performance within these models and having a sound delivery strategy that doesn’t crumble in the face of anything unexpected will be amongst the new measures of success of leaders and managers.
Working patterns: An immediate change that employees need to keep in mind and be prepared for is the accommodation of social distancing in the workplace. This may impact the planning of schedules and design of the workspace for better utilization. Employees can expect a schedule that alternates between working from home and working from office.
Your Physical Environment: Closure of office space perks like gyms, pool tables, even the cafeteria vendors. In some offices scheduled breaks may become the norm in order to help control footfalls in cafeterias and allow for regular sanitization of the eating area. Employees may be encouraged to manage their own meals and bring their own cutlery like coffee mugs, etc to work. Cubicle distancing and closures of meeting rooms will be a reality as will be regular sanitisation drives. Employees need to prepare themselves for visible changes in a workspace that may not be easy to adapt to immediately. Right from a fever check at the entrance to a mandatory requirement to wear masks/gloves or sanitise every half an hour, there will be a lot more of H&S rules that will govern your work space.
In addition, social distancing at the workplace will mean lesser and fewer people interactions and more virtual interactions. This means adapting your reactions to virtual cues than physical cues. This will be a hard one to adapt to especially in those domains where the right skills in people interaction is that subtle yet crucial aspect of success.
Adapting your skills: While organizations will make it their primary focus to recover from the impact of Covid19 what will help employees adapt and thrive is to sharpen their radar for change and seize every learning opportunity. Equipping yourself with skills that help you adapt your behaviour to opportunities that arise is as important as doing the job itself. Sharpening your skills of observation, your innovative thinking, empathy for your team, clients, vendors, customers and even managers, yes we said managers, is what is going to keep you relevant. This would mean a focus on meaningful and result oriented communication. A strategic mindset, empathy-based flexibility, self-drive, personal leadership, integrity, creativity and grounding are skills that have never been this important. Assess which of these are your strong suit and how are you applying them today. Pick a relevant skill that you need to develop and take one small action every day to practice it. Tiny acts in the present form your habits of tomorrow.
In conclusion: A lot of us are waiting with bated breath to see what this pandemic really means for us, a lot of us have faced the impact, financially and emotionally, both personally and at the workplace. The world will be a changed place once the dust settles but what will keep employees steady in the face of it is the ability to regularly evaluate your position, contribution and abilities to know how you can adapt to what the need is.
Guest Author : Melissande Rebello
Corporate Trainer and L&D Consultant
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