3 ways to help employees thrive in the new normal
After consecutive years of pandemic, businesses and their employees are grappling with the aftermath of the disruption. Most notably, a once-in-a-generation pandemic, coupled with social unrest, geopolitical strife and other factors, has helped usher in unprecedented new prioritization and restructuring of the workforce as people reinvent their professional lives in light of their experiences over the past 24 years. month.
This retraction from the status quo is both a challenge and an opportunity for companies to rethink their processes and priorities to enable their people to thrive in the months and years to come. Simply put, cultivating innovation, collaboration, and productivity will force companies to shed their current playbook while creating new ways to invest in people to drive overall success in the future.
Here are three ways to start this process today.
1. Emphasize meaning
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many people to slow down their lives. Rather than rushing to the office for a morning meeting or staying late to communicate with colleagues, people were working from home while attending to personal matters that seemed more pressing and important. In other words, following the professional Jones no longer seemed like a good enough reason to stay in a company.
According to a Mckinsey & Company survey, nearly half of respondents said they were reconsidering their jobs due to the pandemic. As a result, the study bluntly states, “Help your employees find purpose or watch them go.”
At the same time, helping people find meaning in their work produces deep bottom line results. People who believe they do meaningful work are 75% more committed to their organization and 33% more productive than their less inspired peers.
Companies can help employees find meaning in their work by demonstrating the impact of their work, including:
• Personal success
Especially these days, employees expect their work to be meaningful; it is essential that companies help them create the connection.
2. Stay flexible
Many leaders are working overtime trying to develop an effective return-to-office strategy. Meanwhile, most employees don’t want to come back, at least not full-time.
A recent Morning Consult survey found that “less than half of full-time teleworkers want to return to the office.” At the same time, many have indicated a preference for hybrid working arrangements, making this flexible working arrangement an obvious solution for companies looking to restore in-person functionality while addressing the concerns of their distributed teams.
However, companies should consider going further by allowing employees to choose when they work just as well or they work. Several leading companies, including Automattic and DuckDuckGo, have implemented flexible working hours to maximize employee impact and satisfaction.
Describing the process at New York Times, Azad Abbasi-Ruby, Principal Market Research Analyst at DuckDuckGo, said, “I think it’s a real shame that more companies aren’t taking advantage of this. We do so many things, and I think it has a lot to do with that flexibility, letting people work when they’re most productive.
While some jobs require people to be in a certain place at a specific time, many don’t. Instead, leaders often pursue rigid schedules as a continuation of the status quo or because they’re worried about employee productivity.
It is a solvable problem. Today’s technology provides executives, managers, and team leaders with the information needed to understand employee productivity, maintain accountability, and embrace flexibility. Focus on people and their creative processes to support long-term sustainability in the new normal and leverage technology to support these efforts.
3. Help people work smarter
When companies moved off-campus during the pandemic, employees worked longer and harder than ever. A survey of employees in the first year of the pandemic found that 70% of professionals who switched to remote working also started working on weekends, and almost half said they worked more hours than before the pandemic.
Short-term trends tend to become long-term norms, and the results can be devastating. According to a recent analysis by the American Psychological Association, 79% of employees reported work-related stress, and nearly three-fifths “reported negative effects of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or motivation. ‘energy”.
Companies must react. Some dig into the data to help bring about change. For example, Microsoft analyzed data from its employee monitoring initiatives to understand employee productivity cycles. After determining that people were most productive during a particular three-hour window, Microsoft banned meetings during that time to allow people to optimize their work time.
These changes can also be more nuanced and focused. Most companies deploy an iterative version of employee monitoring software, and leaders can leverage this information to have collaborative conversations about workflows, best practices, and other optimizations to help people manage their working hours and restore work-life balance.
It’s time to act
These two years have been difficult for companies and their employees, and the professional landscape is inextricably changed. Fortunately, leaders have the opportunity to react. They can take steps to support their employees as they embrace the new normal, ensuring teams are positioned to communicate, collaborate, innovate and thrive in the months and years ahead.
This article was originally published in Forbes and reproduced with permission.