What Does This Mean for Culture?
The LAK Group and other HR experts expect employers and employees to experience a new world of work…a new employment contract. We do not see this as a short-term fix but more of a long-term evolution. Organizations are going to be faced with new expectations and uncertainty coming from their talented people. Certainly, safety and physical distancing in the workplace will be important, but so will the demand for flexible hours, workplace testing, travel restrictions, virtual meetings, office and conference room layouts and remote-work arrangements.
This has a direct impact on various elements of culture. How people “show up” will be different. More virtual meetings, less travel, measuring productivity and the ability to engage and include a mobile workplace all become critical skills for everyone.
Managers are going to need to be more agile as they adapt to new practices of “hoteling” offices, mobile workspaces, online interviewing, micro-learning and people questioning when they should or should not come into work. People leaders are going to have to learn how to build a cohesive, high-performing team with people spread out and working different times of the day. Those who work for global companies have had some exposure to this, but many could still rely on multiple members of their team being in the same location.
We recommend each company plan for the transition back as a workplace renewal. And be ready, as the transition could take 12-18 months. How companies manage the transition back to the new normal will define their ability to attract and retain talent in the future. You need to approach the return to work as a long-term transition. We believe this will be a journey fraught with ambiguity as most organizations will not come back exactly as they left.
Take Action Now
Organizations can’t wait for this crisis to end before developing a plan for renewal. The workplace and workforce demands are going to change. Getting in front of this now, will help with your transition back to the new world of work. A myriad of conditions will need to be in place for reopening. Organizations must think about and plan for what processes and procedures they must (and/or can) develop and implement in order to accomplish the successful and efficient renewal of their workplace, the re-engagement of the workforce, and the future success of the company.