The 5 Main Ways the Pandemic has Changed the Workplace
We keep hearing about this new normal, but is it just normal now? Will we ever go back to what we used to think is normal? Some experts believe the way we live, work, and play has changed forever, and there is no going back.
It is a fact that the workplace has been forever changed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but just how so? Are we officially in a post-pandemic workplace, or is this remote/hybrid trend just a temporary blip? That question may still be up for debate, but there is one fact we know for sure: the pandemic has triggered a full-blown job revolution. Let’s go over some of the ways the past months have impacted the modern workplace, and what this means for leaders and managers.
5 Ways the Pandemic has Changed the Workplace
In what follows, we’ll go over 5 important ways in which the pandemic has changed the workplace. We’ll also discuss how leaders can approach these changes to boost employee satisfaction, as well as attract and retain top-tier talent in 2021.
1. Leaders have to make an effort to connect with team members
As a result of the remote work model, leaders have had to pay extra attention to their team members by scheduling frequent 1:1 check-ins that often get overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the pre-pandemic workplace. We discuss in a recent article why virtual leadership is taking its reign in the executive coaching world, and how it can be done successfully. Relying solely on face-to-face interactions is not enough anymore, and leaders have to adapt to the demands of the new, digital-savvy world. Developing effective communication skills to connect to remote team members thus becomes a critical skill in 2021.
2. Hybrid work models are taking center stage
As more businesses began to adopt a permanent remote or hybrid work model, hardware stores and home renovation companies kept busy with all of the remote workers wanting to create an ideal work-from-home setup. In the hybrid work model, employees are in the office 2-3 days a week and working remotely 2-3 days a week. Other companies are allowing workers to work remotely full-time, indefinitely. These models allow for a less crowded office space and a more flexible work-life balance, but they pose new challenges for leaders and managers. Leveraging the best that technology has to offer can make a huge difference, and keep teams connected and focused on a common goal.
3. Work-life balance is now the top priority
The terrible impact of the pandemic and the emergence of the remote work model has made people more aware of the importance of work-life balance. Working parents can spend more quality time with their families and young professionals can spend more time traveling the world and exploring different cultures around them. The ability to work remotely and not have to be in an office from 9 to 5, five days a week can actually improve people’s lives and make them more productive in their work. By avoiding long commutes and noisy offices, employees have more time to enjoy their hobbies, friends and families, which in turn makes them more focused at work. Leaders and managers must be willing to adapt and cater to each employee’s individual preferences and needs if they are to attract and retain top talent.
4. Employees are spending less time traveling for business
Employers are replacing their airport selfies with “#wfh.” According to Business 2 Community, it all comes down to cost versus efficiency. As they put it, “a company would rather have their sales people on a Zoom call working from home, which costs nothing, compared to flying across the country and staying at an expensive hotel.” Conferences and corporate events have also moved online, and in this way, they’ve actually become accessible to more people, who might not have been able to travel in-person to attend such events. A win-win situation, if you will, for employers, employees, and even organizers, as well. For many people, traveling was a big part of their job, one that could often become exhausting; technology has changed that in a big way, and now employees and executives can attend important events without having to sacrifice personal time.
5. The work environment has become a lot less formal
A few years ago, people would joke around that you could identify tech CEOs from miles away by their casual attire. Compared to corporate executives, who more often than not would dress in a suit-and-tie, tech and startup founders were much more laid-back. In 2021, we can expect to see a lot more executives approaching casual attire. According to Forbes, “leaders said they enjoyed dressing in business casual because it was more comfortable, and many believed it would continue back in the office, with some important exceptions.” The structured knee-length dress, pantsuit, or suit and tie seem to be a thing of the past, with employees becoming more and more flexible on employee attire. Sandals are replacing heels, khakis are replacing dress pants, and messy hair is replacing slicked back hair or professional-level blowouts. Leaders and managers are beginning to place more importance on the comfort and wellbeing of their employees, and offering flexibility in small ways can help them retain young, top-tier talent.
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