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Businessman looks at the city during sunset. Future and new business opportunity concept

The new horizon of work

Understandably the current pandemic dominates the media headlines and it’s pretty much shaken everyone into the world of “I don’t know”. Freedom of movement and physical isolation are the most obvious changes in society but what about the world of work? Suddenly those jobs that companies said no one could do virtually… are now being done virtually. This shift to remote working that the world recently experiences is completely unprecedented. Companies are now obliged to change fundamental aspects of their company culture in a way which they probably didn’t ever contemplate and they are having to do it in a reactive planning way which can be messy as well as costly in financial and employee engagement terms.

 Leaders will be thinking about minimum 3 aspects to this current crisis:

  1.   How do I currently supervise peoples work, manage inclusion, engagement, health and safety and emotional wellbeing?
  2. How do I embed these methods of working to ensure they sustainable for an indefinite amount of time?
  3. What does my new model of work look like for the future and how do I start preparing for this once this crisis period is over? 

You see, we could all sit here and wait for the storm to pass and return to business as it was before, or we can recognise and accept that there has been some good coming out of this pretty awful situation, take advantage of that and make it our new “business as usual”.

What do I mean by that? Look at how technology, supply chain management and manufacturing have adapted to meet demand: 3D printing of ventilator adapters and protective equipment for medical staff, applications developed to track outbreaks of COVID-19 in your local area, switching from producing whiskey to hand-sanitiser to name a few.

How have people have adapted? Most are now figuring out what’s important for the business to function successfully as well as focusing out the work that makes them busy instead of productive.

What we end up with is a group of people who have learned how to be hyper productive – excellent at identifying priorities, planning and fiercely protecting their time.

Those are some of the traits of highly effective and highly performing teams, the traits that businesses performance management policies have been demanding from leaders for years.

Will these people be ok to return to the world of busyness and remain highly engaged? I think not.

So at the end of this pandemic, what does your new business model look like and how is it supporting retention and engagement of hyper productive staff?

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