The ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to have a huge affect on our working lives and looks like it will continue to do so for some time yet. But just what will the future of work look like? Will commuting to the office become a thing of the past? Will swapping three-piece suits for tracksuits become the norm, or will we just go back to the way we were before once the pandemic is over?
Innovation and adaptability will still be key
One of the defining factors about the pandemic is how quickly businesses have adapted. They’ve mobilised workforces to be able to work from home, sorted out supply chains and created safe shopping environments for customers, quicker than they probably thought was possible.
Even traditional high street businesses, like banks, have managed to offer customers innovative and simple ways of arranging vital services, such as payment holidays, much faster than they normally would. And now they’ve done it and shown it can work, they’ll look to carry on with this innovative approach.
Flexible working’s here to stay
Where and when we work will be far less rigid in future. Some companies are reducing physical office space or will be looking for flexible space with shorter leases, so employees can also be more flexible in where they work.
The 9-5 working day might soon be a thing of the past too, as working parents have shown how flexible hours can be just as productive working fixed hours during lockdown. For many workers, basing their working day around their children’s school hours really suits their lifestyle.
Employee physical and mental wellbeing
Of course, this is something lots of companies really focussed on before the pandemic. But for those who didn’t, it’s now become one of the biggest changes to their workplace cultures. Companies have actively encouraged their employees to look after their wellbeing during the pandemic by making sure they can set up home offices, encouraging them to not to work extra hours, having daily online check-ins, and offering access to wellness programmes and initiatives.
This enhanced focus is likely to be one that continues, as employees will be attracted to companies offering these kinds of programmes. Attracting top-class talent will be much easier with them in place.
Leaders will need to show compassion
Companies that have emerged relatively unscathed through the pandemic are those with effective leaders. Organisations where leaders have shown understanding around people’s anxiety about the current situation they’re facing, and have allowed them to be flexible and adaptable has helped to reassures employees, and also given customers a positive impression of the organisation.
This style of leadership will help build innovative, empathetic, and diverse workplaces where employees feel valued with a sense of belonging. They’ll be able to adapt quickly and confidently when faced with new situations and challenges as they happen.
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