What has changed in your workplace since COVID-19

Managing your staff

In this business presentation learn about what could have changed in your workplace and how you should look to reconnect with your staff after COVID-19.

Key learning outcomes:

  • Transforming the present
  • Co-creating the future
  • The road ahead

What has changed in your work place?

What has changed in your workplace

Hello. My name is Margaret goody. I'm the HR strategist with Akyra Strategy and Development. Today we're going to be talking about what has changed in your workplace and reconnecting after COVID-19

Three things we're going to be talking about is:

  1. Transforming the present
  2. Co-creating the future
  3. The road ahead

Transforming the present

In transforming the present, it's useful to consider exactly what COVID 19 pandemic represents for our workplace and why can change people's sense of place so profoundly.

The pandemic impacts are so severe that it can be classified as a “transformative stressor”. These rare events cause severe and intense social, environmental and economic impacts. They are felt at every level of society and throughout social institutions which, of course, include our businesses and workplaces.

These profound shocks are felt all at once in economic activity, human health and social order. And impacts occur at all scales. Almost everybody has or will endure multiple forms of disruption.

Transformative stressors can be unforgiving in exposing problems and weaknesses in systems. They can be catastrophic in workplaces because so many systems are integrated, creating multiple points of impact.

COVID-19 also fits the transformative stressor model because it might not be possible to fully manage it. Recovery planning needs to account for the possibility COVID-19 might never disappear and could become an ongoing risk for our work life.

What was a distant worry becomes an immediate threat when a transformative stressor impacts a workplace. Things that were once reliable and comfortable no longer are, and our behaviour changes in response causing us to reconsider our sense of place over time.

And so you can see that in your own workplace and what's happened during COVID-19. All the things that were reliable for example people turning up for work at 7.30am or 8.30am, they finished at a particular time, they had lunches at particular time. Everything just ran. Whereas now it doesn't. Some are working from home. Some are working in the workplace, Some are not working at all. These things are just huge disruptors on everybody's work life.

Co-creating the future

The next point is about co-creating the future. So the transformative impacts of the pandemic are updating established norms, but policy innovation can flourish at times like this. Transformative stressors has give your business unique opportunities to work outside its normal methods.

So we've already seen that with people working from home. But how has that impacted? Has your work force being more productive while working from home? Has it been less productive? How are you tracking what they are doing? Is that tracking working? Are you able to performance manage your workforce when they're working from home? And if you do, what's been the response to that, particularly it's done via Zoom, phone or a teams meeting?

People have also stoically endured lockdowns in many countries. Working from home with limited mobility will further prompt many to re-evaluate their sense of place. Many people will want a big say in the fundamental decisions to be made on the future of their workplace after this.

So we're already seeing that some employers are having difficulty in getting their workforce to come back into the office. To come back to what was before. That's why it's really important that you co-create the future. That you do talk to your workforce and your employees about what it is that they want, and what it is that you want so that you can find a way through and both parties can create that future.

As we seek those innovative ways to help your workforce recover, you can learn important lessons by consulting with them. Online co-creation processes and workshops are excellent tools for gathering the people's thoughts and aspirations at this unique time.

So don't always expect people to come back into the office to have to consult with them. Find a way to do it that works for them and works for you. It does. And sometimes it's not comfortable for them, and sometimes it's not comfortable for you, but if we don't find a way through the uncomfortableness, then we aren't gave it going to be a very well operating business in the future.

By participating in these online sessions, your employees can redefine their own sense of place in the business, which has been disrupted by COVID-19. They can describe how the crisis change their perspectives, and use of space and technology. It also allows them to redefine their sense of place by considering the future with full acknowledgement of the past.

And I think what's really critical is that we look at what happened in the past. We learn from it. The past doesn’t have to be 10 years ago. It can be two months ago, three months ago, given the changes that have happened.

The road ahead

And the last piece we'll talk about is the road ahead.

The transformative impacts of this pandemic prompt fundamental questions. Do people have the same enthusiasm for working in your workplace?

Given they've had some time to think because perhaps they haven't been traveling in the car for an hour or two to get to work. And then instead of that, they've taken that time to be with their families or doing something else that was interesting to them.

So they may not have the same enthusiasm. So how do you then reconnect them? Re-engage them? Redefine their role within your workplace?

Is it time for new realities and what would those new realities look like? How would they be achieved? So if the new reality is that you've got a workforce that has been working remotely and no longer wants to work in the office, or they've been stood down and not working at all. And now they're not sure how they want to come back to work.

These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary responses. It's not a time for you to plan for your workplace. It's a time for you to plan WITH your workforce. And what's really critical. I'll say that again. It's not a time for you to plan for your work force. It's a time for you to plan WITH them.

COVID-19 will undoubtedly prompt a new round of thinking about how workpalces can be reimagined for all sorts of reasons. People's perceptions and attachments to places is changing perhaps forever. Decisions on where to go from here will be better made if you, as the business owner, understand how your employees are redefining their sense of place in this time of profound upheaval.

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