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Transforming for the New Normal (part 2)

Returning to the Workplace – An Experiment in Leadership and Team Building?

Missed part one on Tackling Forced Transformation in the ‘World’s Biggest Work From Home Experiment’? See it here.

It’s estimated that less than half of us worked from home regularly pre-pandemic. But now the trend looks like it will continue, with much of the workforce expecting an increase in flexible working and a ‘split’ working week post-pandemic.

The return to the workplace doesn’t necessarily mean that things will be simpler. For one thing, after getting used to operating remotely, some employees will now have to transition again to yet another ‘new normal’.

The thing that’s going to make the return to the workplace a success is teamwork, and a proactive attitude towards this will be needed from the top to the bottom of your organisation.

Challenges of the ‘New Normal’ Workplace

It’s safe to say that in most industries the workplace is unlikely to be the same again. As well as physical changes to the environment, we will be facing stricter regulations on health and safety and social distancing for some time to come.

Leaders face an ongoing struggle in continuity with their workforce, having to take into account the risks posed to vulnerable members of their team, and incorporating this into their daily management and assessment strategies.

A key part of a successful transition will be flexibility (more on this in part three), particularly as there’s a chance we may have to move through periods of tightened and relaxed restrictions in the months to come.

There will be physical changes to the workplace too, and it will take time to get used to these and for new procedures to become routine.

The Importance of Team Building

This transformation to a more flexible workplace culture will only work if everyone plays their part. Leaders have to show a clear example and employees need to feel that their concerns are being listened to.

Management attitude to employee wellbeing and concerns will be critical, to help anticipate any potential issues or bottlenecks, and ensure operational continuity. It’s vitally important to have a plan in place, and assign roles and accountabilities in a way that ensures everyone is fully aware of their responsibilities to themselves and others.

Any flaws within a team will be doubly apparent in a period of crisis and change. There’s absolutely no ‘wiggle room’ for poor performance when resources are stretched and when regulatory, health and safety compliance is even more important than in the past.

Organisations with employees who work highly effectively together, despite working remotely, to ride the challenges will be the ones who have the most success with post-pandemic transformational change.

The time of lockdown might have been dubbed the ‘biggest work from home experiment’ — but the successful return to the office could be considered the world’s biggest experiment in teamwork.

Interested in more insights on how to build a strong team for your transformation? Follow this link.

Look out for part three of the series, where I explain why business agility needs to be built in to your transformation strategy for the post-Covid-19 world.

If you’d like some friendly advice (or a sounding board!) for your business transformation challenges, please get in touch to set up a free, no obligation consultation.