The movement of restarting work-life–post COVID-19, has begun in earnest.
Both employers and employees have begun to make collaborative strides, in order to make sure things go back to the way they were. Work is one of the most important aspects of your existence and identity—and both sides have started to make efforts towards making it viable, legible and safer again. It is, however, a time for change and upheaval—and speaking just in terms of employees—quite a crucial one.
They are the organization—both present and future. For a successful transition to normalcy from this current, grievous situation—it is time to put the focus back where it belongs: on them.
Here’s how you do it.
Considering Employee Preferences
Employees are more than just a valuable resource. They’re also actual people. They are readers, watchers, explorers and observers of trends. They know what is going on in the world. And by living through the incredibly challenging quarantine period—a lot of them are probably different people than they were before. Since some of their priorities may have shifted, the way they work may need some adjustment.
According to Moneycontrol.com, JLL India CEO Ramesh Nair stated that only around 15% of the corporate workforce will permanently WFH post the crisis. He, however, also emphasized the overall eclectic figures that an internal survey inside the company demonstrated. Only 5% of employees wanted permanent WFH. 65% of them, in fact, wanted to work from both office and home. The remaining 30% preferred the traditional workplace strictly.
These key statistics do highlight an important aspect: people do miss the traditional workplace. They also further emphasize how what we do for a living, is ingrained in the places we spend our entire days. The Wall Street Journal describes this prolonged separation from the office as “an essential part that’s missing” in workers’ lives. People may not be completely like they used to be, but they still value their workplaces. Hence, it is important to keep their preferences in mind, to strengthen the core relationship that exists. It’s time to consider what employees think and want—even more seriously.
Making Employees Safer
Concerns for health and wellness have always been important. But from now on, they will be center- stage in a way that they have never been before. The fact that employees themselves had concerns for their own well-being while working at home, as reported by TOI—means that the urgent desire to return to workplaces will go hand-in-hand with a need for the alleviation of them. Workplaces need strict pandemic-proofing measures, if they want their employees at their best.
Safety has always been a part of great work environment—offering huge appeal to conscious employees in terms of workplace benefits. Now, organizations have to ensure it on an extra level, in order for a large population to be willing to make the transition from the safety of their homes to the workplace again. They need to know not only is it safe, it is worth going back to—ditching the safety and comfort of their homes.
Workplaces that go the extra way, show that they care. That they see employees as not just a resource, but something to nurture and grow alongside it.That they value safety and security, as much as they do performance and progress. That it is not about hierarchy, but community—when it comes down to it.
Making Employees Stronger
Qualities like resilience will play a vital role in establishing an atmosphere of trust and certainty. Resilient leadership will, in fact, recognize and reinforce critical shifts between “today” and “tomorrow”—as stated by Deloitte. The goal is, stability and the ability to weather the challenges of the future.
The company further emphasizes the three measures of crisis response as—react,respond and thrive. While theoretically sound, all three of the steps cannot be accomplished without leaders adopting an empathic, generous attitude in the culture, there also needs to be a large focus on enhancing employee learning and skill development in this time, while demonstrating positive values of long-term planning and inculcation of problem solving—and the importance of looking ahead, not backwards.
Instilling a sense of purpose within them will also help them refocus and energize their creative, productive drives. Employers need this time to help find, rediscover and reignite this sense of purpose. Everyone is searching for something. It is time to help them find it.
Employees are what builds and maintain culture—which collectively grows, solves problems, innovates and overcomes challenges. With COVID-19, we face one of our biggest challenges. There are now certain boundaries and restrictions to our ability to be in sync. A focus on reenergizing and nurturing the potential of an organization’s truly valuable resource—will make things right in the end, most certainly.