"There are numerous things for us all to consider as we emerge from very strange times and will these times have changed the shape of the workplace forever?"
Imagine being able to fast forward to the end of 2021, the pandemic is much more manageable, the vaccine is doing its job and the restrictions at long last have been lifted.
2022 is just around the corner and people are full of optimism at the prospect of being able to go about their lives with some normality. Foreign holidays are back on the agenda, hospitality is alive and kicking, sporting events and concerts are all sold out and we can spend as much time with as many of our loved ones as we like, doing whatever we like, whenever we like... just imagine.
This is all familiar territory again, the kind of living people have been longing to get back to, without any further bumps in the road.
Amongst all of this though, a new kind of workplace is evolving for some, a modern day workplace, a post pandemic workplace, something which could look and feel very different from our workplaces at the beginning of Q1 2020? There are numerous things for us all to consider as we emerge from very strange times and will these times have changed the shape of the workplace forever?
As an employee, will you be looking to have more flexible working arrangements, going back to the daily commute 5 days a week, is this something you want to do or will a few days a week allow for a greater, more sustainable, work life balance? Or are you eager to get back into the office 5 days a week, has working from home left you feeling totally alone and really isolated? Are you looking forward to the camaraderie, teamwork and contact with your colleagues and peers, is working from home just not for you?
As an employer how will your business adapt to the new modern day workplace? Will anything change at all, will you expect everyone back in the office, 5 days a week with no option to work from home? Are you a convert to staff working from home permanently or will you implement a hybrid model which suits both the business and the employees?
There are numerous things to consider, whichever route you choose.
If you go back to everyone working full time in the office, will you potentially lose staff?
Apple have recently contacted all of their employees stating that they want them all to be back in the office at least 3 days a week by September. This has caused quite a stir and the staff have pushed back questioning their employer's motives as they feel they have to now choose between their families, their well-being, their work-life balance and Apple. Some Apple employees feel that it eradicates any empowerment and inclusivity flexible working allows. Some colleagues have already spoken with their feet and left.
If your business can allow staff to work from home, will you embrace this, and if so, will you need to consider the following to ensure all your staff are updated and included consistently:
• Team meetings and engagement
• Training and development
• New hires and inductions
• New technology
• Mental health and well-being
• New products and process changes
Along with all of the above, one of the biggest things for any business allowing staff to work from home, is trust. This is a whole topic of its own and after numerous conversation around this, it’s something which seems to split opinion but whichever way it’s looked at, it has the distinct ability to create two very strong outcomes, reduced staff morale or feelings of empowerment.