We are not going back to normal.
We all want something will, like economy, social restrictions, healthcare system; but something other never will.
Most of us totally agree that CoViD-19 represents an unprecedented disruptive force, that has impacted almost everything in our lives: how we socialize, how we take care of ourselves and families as well as how we work.
This period has accelerated changes and has led Companies to face the challenge and design a new future of work.
During the crisis, in fact, the priority of Companies has been to give a quick response, enhancing safety, protection and allowing people to work from remote.
Around the world most of them have shifted to remote working and have experimented this large-scale trial.
The effectiveness of the experiment has been not the same for all Companies: the ease of how they adapted themselves is strongly correlated to their pre-crisis level of maturity:
- Companies that were best prepared before the crisis have seen an acceleration of their transformation, facilitated by already developed leadership practices, equipment and collaborative tools;
- The least prepared companies experienced more difficulties in adapting, due to work organization and management methods that are not very experienced when dealing with remote working;
Nevertheless, most of them have succeeded by developing their systems in a very short time and by experimenting on a large scale and over a significant period of months.
Now it’s time to prepare to break-out from the “transition period” and reinvent the “work footprint”; it’s time for Managers and Leaders to focus on structured plans for business recovery and lead “the next phase”, what we call the new normal.
What Companies need to do to reach the new normal? How will they get there?
They must essentially focus on 4 key drivers:
- Reinvent the working model: Remote working does not mean only working from remote but doing it effectively. Most Companies have promptly activated to enable employees working from home, but do they really think about the effectiveness of this model? Are they really ready to work remotely?
To define an effective remote working is not sufficient to transpose processes and activities to remote context. The whole model must be reinvented. How many days from remote? Which differences among functions/roles/job profile? How to maintain the right connections between people? How to ensure sustainability?… and so on.
To define effective “new ways of working” it’s necessary to review governance models, key processes, rules, activities, breaking the silos and defining an evolution path based on digitalization. It needs a mindset shift, focused on measuring employees along objectives (clear, measurable) and not hours. That’s the real change.
Furthermore, helping people to create a proper work environment, enabling a concrete merge between physical and remote presence providing tools (like whiteboarding tools, shared agendas, web-conferencing, chats, etc.) and trainings (how to manage teams from remote, how to properly manage meetings, etc.) are also critical success factors to design the future.
What are our suggestions? What we always recommend to our clients is to clearly define the WHY: together with Managers and executives it’s crucial to define why we are going to evolve, what ambitions, targets, and potential guidelines to follow.
- Provide the right set of tools: technology represents a key enabler for employees to switch from being at office and stay at home.
But are Companies using technology to enhance their working model? or are they adapting tools to traditional? In the future of work, technology allows to break down the barriers between geographies: videoconferencing, virtual offices tools, collaboration tools, etc. will make reality what seemed futuristic in the past.
Furthermore, additional needs should be considered: How to manage people presences? How to give to managers the right visibility on their teams?
Depending on specific needs, technology will represent a key lever to optimize both in-person and remote collaboration.
- Optimize layouts and real estate: the “new normal” also needs a real estate transformation; it will improve how the work is done but also leads potential savings.
From our experience, expected saving will amount from 10 to 30 percent of total expenditures, depending on the approach that Companies decide to follow: some Companies are planning only some few adjustments (within a wide portfolio of solutions: plug and work branches, telephone booths, small meeting rooms, etc.), others are considering real estate transformation with a more in-depth approach foreseeing a complete revision of territory coverage, cutting entire buildings and redefining business models and go-to-market strategies.
The value at stake is potentially considerable.
- Engage people: people experience during the pandemic is quite different, from a very positive feeling to a very negative one.
Anyway, employees are facing a huge disruption in their working habits. Nevertheless, that represents an opportunity for Companies to invest in enhancing relationships with employees ensuring people engagement and identifying a comprehensive set of tools/initiatives to support collaborative activities (i.e. weekly “all hands” web meeting, social virtual activities, tutorship program).
Here too, Companies that were strengthening human capital before the crisis are now in a better position to create a culture of social inclusion, and welfare.
Designing the Future of work will represent an opportunity to run across a positive transformation. What’sure is that for many Companies, the “next day” will not look like the “day before”.
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