By Adrian Matthews – Programme Lead, NECS Consultancy
Despite the clear and numerous challenges, the current Covid-19 crisis is opening up opportunities for organisations and businesses to accelerate the delivery of their strategies, develop their ideas and create value.
For individuals working in those institutions, there is an opportunity to enhance our skills and reap personal rewards outside of the working world.
Living through a period of unprecedented national incident has been tough and in a mercifully reducing number of cases, caused heartbreak for many. The rise of mutual aid, community action and other selfless acts of kindness are crucial to recognise, celebrate and hold on to. Against such a backdrop, working through that same period has helped me to look at things differently, push my prioritisation to a whole new level and consider what changes may be fleeting and what may endure.
In the wake of CV-19, will remote and home working change from employee perk to employee right? 1
Organisations are already reinventing their approach to resourcing and deployment. What may have started out as a response to CV-19 and a way of placing skills and capacity at the point of most need, bears all the hallmarks of being sustained in the ‘new world’.
Looking outwardly, organisations are deploying skills, irrespective of geography. Looking inwardly, they are focusing on reallocation schemes, placing skills and capacity on projects interdepartmentally, where there is demand and value to be added. These changes are not only helping to meet business need, but are also engaging the development goals of individuals, offering the chance to increase skills and actively work on areas of wider interest.
The former has been enabled by increasingly powerful digital technology, but the latter shows that cultures and approaches are also adapting. It is fair to say that in organisations where remote and home working was infrequent and varied, there are employees embracing the change, improving their productivity and enjoying a greater sense of work/life balance.
Should managers and leaders be helping people to strive for personal 2, as well as professional growth?
Whilst for many work is a thing not a place, it is also fair to say that many people miss in-person interaction with colleagues, are not comfortable with a blurring of their home and work environment and feel anxious about future profits and workloads.
According to a recent report on the CV-19 risk outlook, among the most worrisome risks for companies are a prolonged global recession and the threat of cyberattacks / data fraud due to a sustained shift in working patterns 3.
With that in mind, looking for opportunities to develop ourselves and our organisations is not an attempt to be flippant, but to recognise the importance of identifying the good and working towards it for the benefit of our social and economic outlook.
Some organisations are seeing that a new way of working can help them to be more agile and respond quickly in order to meet their needs and objectives. In doing so, they must also recognise that people strategies will need to change to ensure that the rights and preferences of their individuals and teams are respected and catered for. At this time, we all have a responsibility to look after our wellbeing and by supporting personal growth, our managers and leaders could enhance their skills and grow too.
Will what started out as a way to keep in touch sit at the core of how concepts are designed and decisions made in future?
By implementing collaborative technology and digital solutions, organisations and businesses have the ready facility to develop ideas rapidly4 and with more diverse input. Where this happens, not only will ideas be stronger and more representative, it may well lead to a deepening of the connection between employee and employer.
Large businesses in the service industry, particularly those with major infrastructure, have an enhanced opportunity to create social value, potentially leading to the repurposing of assets. Will more room in office environments be dedicated to promoting healthy living and our workplaces rethought to provide a significantly improved feeling of light and space? Will shared space to support start-ups in common fields become the norm, allowing joint-working and mutual added value without seeing future competition or market share as a constraint? Could large office buildings make way for parks and green space?
This last notion may be extreme, as a physical identity and a space to gather and collaborate5 are likely to remain an essential part of how businesses function. It therefore seems more likely that, with a plausible reduction in the actual number who will need to physically be at work, floor and desk planning could be fundamentally recalibrated. However the rate of change will clearly vary.
Whatever the future of our work, our cities and our communities, the current crisis has had a profound effect on all of us. Our next big challenge is to not only keep what has been of benefit, but use our experiences to spur us on and keep enacting positive change in our personal and professional lives.
Contact NECS Consultancy to understand how we have supported clients to think differently and develop new models of care. Find out more here: NECS Consultancy
- Grigorian, T. 2020. Will working from home remain a perk or become a right? Available from: https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/working-from-home-after-coronavirus-right/
- Taylor, J. 2020. 7 Ways to Use the Current Crisis for Personal Growth. Available from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/202004/7-ways-use-the-current-crisis-personal-growth (paste link into browser)
- Clift, K. & Court, A. 2020. How are companies responding to the coronavirus crisis? Available from: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/how-are-companies-responding-to-the-coronavirus-crisis-d15bed6137/
- Bonhill Group in partnership with Microsoft. 2020. Is team collaboration tech the key to business growth? Available from: https://smallbusiness.co.uk/collaboration-tech-growth-2547227/
- Gibbens, S (National Geographic). 2020. Goodbye to open office spaces? How experts are rethinking the workplace. Available from: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/science-and-technology/2020/05/goodbye-open-office-spaces-how-experts-are-rethinking-workplace –