The pandemic disrupted life and work as we knew it. It was a period that compelled organisations to change the way they operated and shifted tens of millions of office employees into remote work. Pre COVID, it was hard to imagine we could work from home in the way we have – but the pandemic proved otherwise.
As Australia and other countries begin to reopen their offices, what once was normal may feel foreign for many of us. The idea of travelling to and working in the office may feel stressful for many employees out there – especially those that started their roles in the virtual world.
Working online for the past two years means many of us have adjusted to remote work. Some may be ecstatic to be back in the office, as this means being able to socialise and interact with others again. However, for others it may be daunting – it means having to adapt to and relearn how to work with people in a face-to-face environment again.
As a result, it’s a crucial time for organisations to reimagine work for a new era of hybrid working. In this article, we’ll reflect on some key learnings from the pandemic that we should take with us into the post COVID workforce. We’ll also explore how the HBDI® and Whole Brain® Thinking can assist organisations in smoothly transitioning back into the office.
Key learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic
1. We can be equally (or even more productive) working remotely
Prior to lockdown, employees were begging for the opportunity to work from home, but many companies were hesitant: could employees work efficiently and maintain productivity remotely? The pandemic has proved that the majority of us are actually more productive and experience fewer distractions working from home than in the office. Working from home saves us time on the commute and enables us to have meetings anywhere, at any time. An effective hybrid workforce means acknowledging the pros and cons of working in the office, and structuring our time to make the most of these for optimised productivity.
2. Preparing for the worst by having a ‘plan B’
The pandemic has taught us an unforgettable lesson – to always be resilient and prepared for sudden changes and disruptions should they occur. When the pandemic hit, very few businesses had a contingency plan for a global health crisis. Hence, a critical lesson businesses should learn from the pandemic is: every business needs a scalable and effective emergency plan in preparation for a sudden crisis. By doing so, it helps to minimise operational interruptions and confusion for employees during a crisis. As we saw the hard way, a business with an action plan in place is more likely to survive an emergency than one without.
3. Sick employees should be encouraged to stay home!
Although it may seem obvious, this is no doubt one of the major lessons we learnt from the COVID crisis – sick employees should stay at home! Yes, you may still be able to produce work, but we must be conscious of those around us. Unfortunately, whether it’s COVID or the flu, both illnesses are contagious and can easily spread to others. Therefore, companies encouraging employees to be at work despite being sick should become a thing of the past. It’s worth staying home if we’re not feeling 100% as even a mild cold or flu spreading within our workplace can cause disruptions that are otherwise avoidable.
4. Working from home can contribute to a better work-life balance
For many employees, the thought of ‘work-life balance’ was always a ‘nice to have’. As employees were suddenly forced to work from home, we were all taken by surprise at how much we could get done throughout the day. Zero commute meant more time for rest, daily exercise, with family and more. Post COVID we should consider when working from home can provide benefits to us and our wellbeing. Helping employees find the right balance will lead to increased staff morale and talent retention amongst businesses.
5. Regular communication and check-ins
Working in the virtual world has taught us the importance of effective communication across business, teams and individuals. As many businesses reorganise to accommodate fewer full-time office workers, it is crucial that we have clear and regular lines of communication. Businesses need to first identify their preferred methods of contact with their employees and ensure it’s synchronised across the team and business. Once identified, it is important that managers have frequent check-ins with their team to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Whether employees are in the office or working from home, we should keep communication at the levels we did during the pandemic. Looking to level up your communication skills post lockdown? Check out our useful guide!
Moving forward with the HBDI® and Whole Brain® Thinking
It could be daunting for many of us as we slowly return to the office and meet our colleagues in person again. The good news is, with the HBDI® and Whole Brain® Thinking managers and employees can build a better understanding of themselves, their colleagues and each other. Having awareness of one’s thinking style and the thinking styles of others means we can collaborate more effectively and drive better business outcomes.
Interested in making use of Whole Brain® Thinking and the HBDI® to build great relationships within your workplace? Get in touch with Herrmann today.