14 Sep Adapting and Thriving in the Workplace of the Future
***Updated on 24 March, 2021
The importance of adaptability
For many of us, COVID-19 has made remote working the new normal. We’ve been doing this type of flexible work for around six months already, and there’s no certain end in sight. Even when we do return to the office, it’s likely to be on a part-time basis.
The pandemic has accelerated workplace changes that were already underway and triggered a rethink of how we work. For example, managers and teams have had to learn how to operate in the workplace of the future. Commonly known as the hybrid workplace – one where physical location and work environment matter less than skills and technology. Truly, this “work from anywhere” setup will require a shift in how jobs are designed and teams are organised.
If work from home arrangement is here to stay, it could have a profound impact on the geographical distribution of jobs. High-paying jobs could move out of capital cities if people can do them remotely and take advantage of lower living costs in regional areas. Some countries have even introduced nomad visas to lure remote workers.
While there are many advantages to remote working, businesses need to manage the challenges proactively – to achieve effective management. From employee burnout to isolation and culture issues, leaders are tasked with helping their teams to adapt to this future of work. Adaptability is essential for thriving in a post-pandemic workplace.
So how can businesses and managers prepare for the future? How can you build a better workplace for your employees? Here are our top strategies to make sure that you and your team are ready to thrive in the workplace of the future.
Now that we’re past immediate crisis response, it’s time to reflect on what has been working well, what’s been missing, and what lessons have been learned. How have the changes to the way we work now impacted businesses and employees? By engaging the whole team, different perspectives and voices can be included and heard.
As a team, re-commit to the “why” – the purpose and vision of the organisation. Being clear on purpose is highly motivating, and will increase employee engagement and productivity.
Managers should also re-commit to employee wellbeing and provide support whenever needed.
To meet evolving organisational priorities, managers should assess opportunities to redesign roles. An essential task is to map out critical tasks and responsibilities against needed competencies. For example, digital skills will be necessary for remote workers, and re-training may be required. Physical co-location in an office environment may still be valuable for sparking creativity and collaboration, as well as encouraging loyalty.
Consider customer and employee feedback to work out where the skills gaps are. Once you know what skills your team needs, you can better design new roles or redesign existing roles to suit remote work.
Engage with your team to pre-empt challenges and prepare a plan. Think about the needs of the team, customers and suppliers so that you can get ahead of future challenges. By engaging the team, you’ll not only capture everyone’s knowledge but also create a shared sense of ownership.
Adaptability is a mindset. Model optimism and be open to changing the way we work, whether it’s the change in location or a change in technology. In a new normal, there will be new opportunities, new behaviours, and new customers that will change the way we operate. Businesses, both small and large, have had to adapt quickly to a new environment. Only those who are flexible and adaptable can survive and thrive.
Lastly, don’t forget to communicate. Communicate with your team regularly to find out if they are happy and motivated. Ask for feedback on how you and the team could improve. Communication helps to build a sense of connection. The more connected your team feels, the happier and more productive they’ll be.
As managers, we have to prepare ourselves and our teams to adapt to an evolving world. Taking the time to develop effective management skills for the workplace of the future will help you and your team to perform at their best.
As the leading productivity consultant in Australia for over 30 years, PEPworldwide has developed tailored programs to help teams adapt and thrive to achieve their high-value goals.