Challenges always require change. We cannot successfully overcome any challenge without making changes in our thoughts and actions. COVID -19 was one such challenge in 2020, where we faced the deadly disease, lived with anxiety, depression, lay-offs, business shutdowns, pay cuts, no hikes, no promotions, and whatnot. Now the much-awaited vaccine has come, and most employees have returned to work in the offices. So how senior leaders can ensure a smooth transition back to work post corona?
We experienced a different lifestyle during corona. Some of us were frustrated due to working from home. However, many people have got used to working from home and would prefer to continue to work from home.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has allowed his employees to work from home forever if they choose to. Shopify has also closed its office, and all of its employees are working remotely.
So, it will be challenging for leaders to navigate back the teams to pre-corona times. We can’t simply press the factory mode reset button as we are all human beings and not machines.
Seven things that a leader must consider while navigating through this reboot to pre corona times:
- Have frequent conversations with the team: As a senior leader, one can have regular interaction with the team about what has worked well in terms of effectiveness, well-being, and productivity during the corona work from home (WFH) times for the employees, and what has not worked. These candid conversations will help the employee know where they stand and will also help the organization learn what could be the best mode for this. Whether the employees return to full-time office work or come to the office a few days a week, they will need to strike the right balance between well-being, effectiveness, and productivity.
- Make a list of redundant practices that are not useful any further: WFH would have made us realize the futility of some activities, for example, long meetings, where one is not needed, photocopy, stationery, and prints, etc. It is significant to realize that the days of being office-centric are over. The new realization across the globe is that office is an unnecessary expensive luxury. So, as a leader, it is time to assess if remote working has increased productivity and if it is helpful to continue with it.
- Listen more to your teams: Since every member of your team must have gone through a challenge in some form or other, it is important to empathize with how they are feeling? It will help them manage the transition. Convey to your team that you care for them. Whether in the office or working from home, you can connect with your team online. Many leaders have found that it has created more focused interaction where people have shared more creative ideas. It will also ensure smooth transition back to work post corona.
- Celebrate each moment of being together:
COVID -19 has made the significance of relationships and the value of time very clear. It is important to value what you have instead of engaging in petty office gossips and politics.
- 5. Give the option of WFH along with work from the office: Work from the office can be organized for few days a month on a rotation basis. So that people can get the benefit of both the work lives and organizations. It is because senior leaders have to ensure the safety of their employees. It will help them a gradual and smooth transition back to work post corona
- 6. Allow work from home for specific roles: There are certain roles inwhich one does not need to be present at the office. These employees can work from home. It can save costs for the organization and avoid unnecessary pain. It will also save a lot of time of employees spent in commute to work. Besides, it will move the organization towards a greater sense of connection with mother earth as fewer commuters on roads would mean less pollution in the environment. It will ensure a smooth transition back to work post corona.
- Take the support of executive coaching: For a senior leader, these can be challenging times. They have to lead their team and organization through challenging times. So, in this scenario, an executive coach can help them to grow to the next level. Executive coaching can also help leaders who have gone through lay-offs. It can be an opportunity for them to reflect on their lives and take action, to enhance their overall executive presence to stay ahead of the pack. To speed up their journey to the CXO level, leaders will benefit by hiring a leadership coach.