The analysis of the post-COVID workplace makes it clear that the impact of the recent pandemic on the way businesses operate and manage their workforce will not have a temporary impact. In the given scenario with the pandemic, organizations that quickly find effective ways to adapt their operating systems will outpace their peers.
As the majority of businesses, Digilite is also working its way through the challenge of implementing the most effective action plan for post-COVID workplace and recovery. Through this blog, we will share some of our strategies that will help strengthen your business’s growth during this difficult time.
The situation with the coronavirus is unique, hence requires a unique approach. Here are some of its specificities.
By definition, a pandemic has an impact on almost all industries, geolocations, and populations. While infection rates might be higher for frontline workers, COVID-19 definitely affected the rest of us and especially those who were more vulnerable.
Unlike other crisis situations like a hurricane or an earthquake, this pandemic continues to have a long-lasting impact on our lives, business, and workplace. We have been unfolding its results for many months already, and still seem to be in the middle of the journey.
The virus significantly changed our everyday life, affecting almost all aspects of our lives. Our lives have changed from the way we travel, to grocery shopping, to the way we operate in the workplace, to getting a haircut. A lot of our daily activities became obsolete.
Impossible to ignore.
Specifically, considering the rising use of social media and the internet, COVID-19 news has been around 24/7 making it almost impossible to ignore. The majority of TV programs and news still concentrate exclusively on the pandemic, trying to predict its scope of influence and alternative ways to minimize harm.
Three dimensions of change:
Generally speaking, when analyzing the effects of COVID on the current working reality we should review three main dimensions: The work that is being done, who is doing it, and where it is being done.
In this aspect organizations need a broader look at these important aspects:
- work (the what)
- the workforce (the who)
- the workplace (the where.)
These simple yet important aspects of change highly affect our reality and present important questions to consider, starting from human collaboration, to talent sources, and safety in the working environment. Let’s discuss those separately.
Work: What will the post COVID work look like?
Without the help of digital tools like secure VPNs, unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), video conferencing, online management and communication tools, and more, operating would have been almost impossible for the majority of businesses. If we faced a similar pandemic 30 years ago, many more industries would have vanished, with greater harm to the economy.
The pandemic was a step closer to achieving more digitized working and operational processes. As the research from Box shows, digital collaboration increased by around 142% during the pandemic, due to the increasing number of chat and messaging, video conferencing, cloud storage, and sharing tools to be able to properly continue their work.
The situation with the pandemic was another reminder of the benefits cognitive revolutions, robotics, and automation can offer. Those greatly affected the way businesses will continue to operate with more remote-jobs, due to the limitations of distance.
More online sales and social media consumption will eventually result in changes in the types of jobs we do and the professions we choose.
Workforce: Rethinking hiring categories
Thanks to the staying home orders and opportunities of remote working, organizations now tend to be more open in hiring a broader range of independent contractors, crowdsourcing, and freelancers. This newer workforce offers fresh and more flexible methods of solving problems, building agile organizations, and getting the work done.
As the statistics show around 35% of the US workforce is in project or contract-based, supplemental, temporary work. Due to the pandemic, this percentage is obviously growing. A great example is the rising number of freelance workers, which is increasing faster than all other types of employees, around 8.1% compared to 2.6 % respectfully.
Workplace: Redefining the working environment
As the “who” and the “what” of work continuously change, the workplace follows the changes occurring from the consequences of COVID-19.
COVID-19 resulted in direct changes in the way we interact in our workplaces. We are now forced to keep socially distancing from each other, and not gather in big groups. Physical proximity is already not an integral part of our working schedule. We rather adapt to working remotely from any location that is safer for us. Digital communication, technologies, supporting platforms for remote communication alongside societal and marketplace changes allow us to review the potential use of distributed teams.
Thanks to the current situation with the pandemic organization they are more open to orchestrate various alternatives of their workplace, different from the traditional allocated workplaces and closer to the structure of more flexible, virtual interactions, and distributed teams.
As teams are becoming more open to the distributed model, organizations should start to review their culture and team connections accordingly, in order to be able to manage effectively.
For a complete breakdown of the importance, and benefits of building distributed teams make sure to read the following blog.
Strategies for Post-COVID-19 Recovery: Tips from Digilite
We have witnessed organizations’ primary focus in the crisis response phase in ensuring the health and safety of employees, customers, and partners. Now, as we enter the recovery phase, organizations should adopt new workforce strategies and plans.
Potentially, one of the biggest challenges organizations will face in the recovery phase is the tension between getting back to work and redesigning work as they embrace a new reality.
The critical guideline for businesses should incorporate the following attributes:
• Purpose—integration of the well-being and contributions of individuals in the organization’s mission and work
• Potential—what can be achieved by teams and individual members of the organization
• Perspective—the focus on potential aspects of moving boldly into the future.
Once these attributes are properly reviewed organizations should focus on four central aspects to ensure a smooth transition back to the workplace, with greater innovation and flexibility.
- Return to site risk assessment – Start with evaluating active cases, the infection rates, recovery trends of the country, or specific location to regulate the safety of returning to the workplace.
- Pre-opening readiness – Prepare a smooth return for the workforce by ensuring hygiene and social distancing for the secured health and productivity of all the members.
- Phased return to the workplace – Create a detailed plan on the phased return to the workplace, starting with those team members who are physically required to be onsite, and moderately moving to those who want to come and those who are still uncomfortable to return.
- Communication – Develop a strategic communication plan for transparent return to the workplace for all of your employees. Make sure to provide proper guidelines and messages on your business’s recovery plan and return to the workplace.
Given the workforce challenges and the uncertainties around the coronavirus, business leaders are faced with the challenge of creating both short-term and long-term business recovery plans with priority actions for the survival of their business.
Digilite can help businesses with digital assets for a smooth transition and successful operational changes.