The post-pandemic workplace

Back to the office in the Summer of '21

How will your people work together effectively in the hybrid workplace, beyond the logistics? Will there be new organisational norms? What might they be and how might people feel about them? How do you ensure all your people feel included and OK, when everyone has experienced the pandemic differently?  

A larger population will be working in the office from June and you have a brief window to get ready. Desk space; who is there and when; how many days a week; the supporting technology and digital capability will be high on your agenda right now, but this alone won't create an effectively functioning workplace. Leading people into the next normal requires a human skill set that is tuned into and equipped to navigate the emotional impact.

Webinar | Thursday 29 April

Our guide to what's required in the next phase

Be inclusive

Do impact assessments. Talk to people about what they need. Redraft your core people policies.
Each individual colleague is different. They will not experience the next phase in the same way. Now is your moment to walk the talk of your diversity statements. Are you clear that the impact of your plans is equitable, fair and inclusive?

Support wellbeing

Raise awareness. Formulate your strategy. Provide resources, support and training. Keep talking.
The pandemic has had a huge negative impact on mental health and wellbeing. Re-opening offices is not going to be a cure-all. Are your leaders prepared for the different difficulties, anxieties, and challenges to mental health it may bring?

Build on two-way communication

Establish and train employee forums, allies, and focus groups. Consult on planned changes.
When it comes to what will happen next, don’t go into tell-mode. Honest, open, communication is the key to trust. Are your leaders being visible, approachable allies? Are you consulting colleagues, individually and collectively, about plans?

Focus on engagement

Upskill leaders on one-to-one development conversations to maintain high engagement.
Employees may have grown used to a different, perhaps more autonomous, self sufficient ways of working. How will your leaders ensure the gains and engagement created by self-directed homeworking are nurtured in the next phase?

Refresh respect@work

Communicate expectations. Provide relevant respect and harassment awareness training.  
Working together again in person and a more complex remote/office hybrid is inevitably going to require a re-think of cultural norms. How will you ensure the new phase feels psychologically safe for all – from new joiners to office returners?

Be resolution oriented

Have informal conflict resolution processes in place and people who are skilled in using them.
Wherever there is change - role changes, new functions, restructures, loss of headcount - it can be unsettling, and people may complain, challenge, or struggle to meet new expectations. Are you prepared for effective conflict resolution?

This summer is set to see a lifting of lockdown restrictions, including a return of the physical workplace. Re-establishing organisational norms and the logistical practicalities are high on the agenda, of course, but this alone won't create an effectively functioning workplace. Leading people into the 'next normal' requires a human skillset that is tuned into and equipped to deal with emotion.

Join us on 29 April to hear our workplace behaviour experts explore how to approach the future of work. We'll cover:
supporting mental health and wellbeing
leading with EQ for inclusion, engagement and culture
resolving tricky people issues.

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