POST-COVID RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE
For most of us the past three months have been anything but silent, with questions challenging all aspects of our existence and all that we had deemed normal or acceptable. Amidst these, our communities witnessed the interesting shift of spending approximately 97% of our time indoors. At James Cubitt we recognise the chasm between our need for innovation and our reality , and so strive to continuously close that gap , by harnessing data available to us through our interactions and those of our partners; the sifting of which allows us to gain deeper insights and refine our design thinking. The impact on our various communities, (whether as a nation, society, business or family unit) , and lives to the recent pandemic, have provided deeper insights to the presence of planning or lack of it in our systems, the resilience of the human spirit, the need for community in the face of defiance and the impact of Persuasion on behavioural changes. *Following the internet frenzy on all the expert advice, and our devices blowing up with predictions and forecasts of what the future holds, I was constantly called upon to comment on. “what the future of the workplace would be?” The truth is, without asking the pertinent questions, we simply cannot understand and plan for our future workplace. What is clear to us, is based on our recent survey, 70% of people do want to go back to the office. It showed that prior to the outbreak, the workplace presented a place for Growth, Social experience from human to human interactions, a sense of community, service, responsibility, and promise of a source of livelihood. The overall feedback from the survey showed four synonymous expectations. ASSURANCE OF SAFETY: The recent pandemic has shown the weaknesses in our healthcare system calling us to act as we review its structures and put in place cogent plans for the future, In the same vein, business owners must begin to think the same for workers re-entry into the workplace, by ensuring their safety, through reimagining human to human interactions and simultaneously ensuring the right sanitary and proximity protocols are deployed. No doubt the landscape of our offices will see change, as we address these items and eventual density in the workplace. REDEFINITION OF PERFORMANCE : What is also clear is the need for organizations to begin measuring workers performance based on results and actual value-added, as the employer begins to shift from the need for the physical presence of workers in the workplace for sake of presenteeism, we must furthermore explore remote and flexible working, however, for this to succeed the primary responsibility will lie on the employer to provide the required tools for the achievement of outlined business and individual performance. I believe this would allow businesses to hone in on what’s important and in turn expand their bottom line. MORE DIVERSITY: As technology flattens the hierarchy in our past, and for some, present workplaces, we must accept a workplace where, diversity of not just gender, culture, and the likes, but of personalities, thinking, work patterns are allowed to thrive, encouraging a deeper connection and true definition of innovation. A space where people are allowed to be, by making meaningful contributions through dialogues that spark creativity, choosing where and when they can work whilst aligning with the delivery of set business goals. FUSION OF OLD AND NEW Based on the current shift, created by our recent experiences, easing into the new is inevitable, as we transit from the old to a new place, where our remote working experiences such as conferencing, collaboration on and completion of set tasks, ( which have caused us to catch a glimpse and witness snippets of each other’s lives), on teams, zoom, slack et al, is fused with our past workplace need for building social experiences of being together. The opportunities that are presented to us at our places of work ( whether at home or in the office) as we go back to work hold very interesting benefits if explored.