The speed and magnitude at which the pandemic hit were unprecedented. Within days, companies worldwide had to find ways to keep their teams operating. Some have completely reinvented their business models, others turned to remote working. Indeed, scores of companies look nothing like they did pre-COVID. But as vaccines are rolled out and COVID-19 cases are becoming more manageable, the post-pandemic world is beginning to take shape. It’s only a matter of time until we’re well past this health crisis, and companies need to start planning for that day. As business writers Kevin Sneader and Shubham Singhal point out, companies will have to do right by their employees during this transition. Now more than ever, leaders need to guide their teams to thrive in the new workplace.
While personal wellbeing has become important in recent years, it’s even more crucial today. HR News reports that UK workers consider wellbeing as one of the most important factors to an organisation’s post pandemic success. The site notes that by “implementing free or discounted gym memberships or weekly team exercise classes (whether that be by Zoom or in person post-pandemic), employers can show that they genuinely care about their employees health and wellbeing.” As people have grappled with grief, anxiety, and burnout within the past year, wellbeing needs to be acknowledged and prioritised.
Leaders and HR professionals can personally help support team members’ wellbeing by regularly checking in on them. It could be as simple as spending a few moments to ask team members how they’re doing or encouraging them to take the necessary time away to prevent burnout. Employees themselves should also be able to take a step back from work and ensure that they’re feeling their best so they can continue being productive team members.
Reinvent your approaches
In today’s workplace, lots of old techniques and approaches may not get you the results you need anymore. Most companies and businesses have had to adapt to many changes, from contactless operations to heavy digitisation. New approaches are needed in this new reality.
A good place to start is by taking a look at a typical day for your team. Which tasks do they struggle with and why? How long does it take them to finish said tasks? A Verizon Connect guide to working smart highlights how putting in longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean an employee is being more productive. Parkinson’s Law states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” That being said, teams already have a base idea on how long it’ll take to finish specific tasks, so have them schedule each task accordingly. There are also digital tools to help you and your team manage projects and monitor workflows. By streamlining work in this way, you’ll be able to identify new friction points and solve them quickly as you adapt to the new normal at work.
Cultivate personal connections
After months of remote work, lots of people may feel lonely and isolated. Teams may find it hard to communicate with each other as they haven’t had much time to form strong bonds. This results in a disjointed team and workflow; and for a team to perform its tasks effectively, members must form a cohesive unit.
A previous EI World post on emotionally intelligent leaders talks about how it’s important for leaders to manage and encourage positive working relationships. For instance, having a regular team meeting just to catch up could be an effective way to foster communication. There are also many virtual team-building activities that give employees a chance to interact with each other in a more casual, relaxed atmosphere. Even if much of the team is working remotely, there’s still a need to develop a sense of community and belonging. This makes it easier for them to be more resilient and adaptable, which are traits they’d need in the post-pandemic world.
In a post-pandemic world, teams need to be adaptable and resilient, and able to make individual contributions towards common goals. Leaders need to consider all of these factors in order to steer teams to success.
Penned by Kaitlin Earle as a submission to eiworld.org
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