Three COVID-19 learnings that can be taken back to work
With many businesses forced to adopt working-from-home measures on a permanent basis over the last few months, there is an opportunity to reflect on lessons that have been learned from this period.
Employers can trust staff to work from home
While remote working has been common in many industries and actively encouraged by some businesses, it has always had its sceptics.
Many organisations have successfully moved to regular working-from-home arrangements recently and as a result, there should now be a general level of trust that staff don’t necessarily have to be in the office to be productive.
Each business is different, and while some will opt for all employees to return to the physical workplace when possible, others will take a different approach and adopt some type of split between the days spent in the office and days spent working remotely.
This type of flexible arrangement could address some of the difficulties with public transport and physical distancing, and allow a more gradual transition while COVID-19 is still a significant concern.
Video conferencing has become the norm
The regularity of video calls has exploded over the last few months. People have become increasingly competent at virtually connecting with friends, family and colleagues. They have even become used to this type of interaction in the media, with professionals, athletes and even politicians adapting to the new normal.
This poses an interesting debate about the cost of physically putting someone in a room with someone else for business purposes. With people more accustomed to teleconferencing, it presents an opportunity to reduce business travel – local, interstate and overseas – and with it the associated cost and time spent in transit.
Good culture is worth investing in
Businesses have had to make difficult decisions around finances and personnel, all the while attempting to keep morale high and continuing to operate to provide services to the community.
While this has been (and will continue to be) a hugely challenging time, it is demonstrating the value of strong workplace culture.
The effort taken to keep teams connected while working remotely can be adapted to the more normal situation when workers do return to the office. The different steps that might have been introduced (virtual coffees, novelty meeting ice-breakers, themed virtual afternoon teas) can be adapted to the physical workplace and businesses can continue to derive the benefits of these team building exercises.
This can only be achieved successfully with quality individuals on multiple levels pulling in the same direction and is a prime example of why cultural fit into a business is so important.