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Ready to Get Back to "Normal"?

#FreshStartMonday

Welcome to #FreshStartMonday!

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

After two years of surviving a pandemic, it seems that sanitary measures have relaxed globally, and we are heading towards the "normality" we have longed for. The announcement made by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance on April 27, 2022, where it was informed about the de-escalation of restrictions derived from the decrease of new cases of COVID-19 in the proportion of positive SARS-CoV-2 tests and hospital beds occupancy for critical care, is proof of this.[1].

This return to the new normality represents a challenge for the market, as in 2020 and 2021, corporations had to adopt new ways of working to generate revenues. However, companies are making a comeback and understanding the post-pandemic world means understanding workforce challenges.

Some challenges on how to return to normality and adapt it to companies are discussed below:

  1. Flexibility

Given the risks posed by the evolving pandemic, flexibility in the business and work is not a new concept. In fact, many companies have adapted intelligently in the last couple of years, making flexibility a standard practice. Flexibility involves a myriad of actions, such as allowing some employees to work remotely if possible; rearranging workspaces; and creating schedules that allow and met the work and home needs.

The value of flexibility is clear, and leaders should consider three elements to meet the needs of their employees: where should work be done, when should work be done, how should work be done. Additionally, it implies that the company develops conditions of business continuity for remote employees, such as the conditions proposed by the Practical Guide for Telework during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond, elaborated by the International Labor Organization (ILO). When thinking of flexibility, the key focus should be on, weighing the effect of working from the office (traffic, organizational health, strengthening relationships, etc.) as well as the effects of working from home (distinction of home and work, confinement, family closeness, etc.).

  1. Digital transformation

Hand in hand with flexibility, technology plays a crucial role in business success. According to PWC, half of all Chief Execute Officers (CEOs) say they plan to increase their long-term investment in digital transformation by 10% or more. This includes technology solutions to support remote work, productivity analytics and collaboration suites that bridge the gap between people who regularly work in the office and those who work remotely.

Thus, one must also consider the new cyber risks that exist along with the strong development of technology. Remembering that the best security (and vulnerability) are the users, who need to be well trained and aware of this new "normality" in the technology.

  1. Organizational health

Organizational health has become a company's ability to align its culture with its strategic objectives. How, and when companies re-engage their employees will have important implications for corporate culture and employee trust. According to McKinsey, companies with a strong culture contribute in a positive way for both employees by improving their mental health and investors because the companies tend to offer superior profits. The fact is that the pandemic has changed the necessities of employees, so the culture must also adapt.

After more than two years of social distance, any interaction with co-workers will benefit greatly the mental health and motivation of many employs and reinforce their purpose and emotional connection to work. With proper planning and precautions, as well as patience and flexibility, many can look forward to return to "normality". The companies must have a broad view and understand that the world and marketplace has already changed. It is essential to meditate and reflect on good pre-pandemic practices and the new ones developed during the pandemic to define the best of both worlds.

 

[1] The new measures announced were: 1) Elimination of the capacity established in the framework of the health emergency, both for open and closed places; 2) The mask will continue to be used in open and closed places, when the municipality is on red alert. In closed spaces it will be mandatory when the municipality is on orange or yellow alert; 3) the entire population is recommended, to avoid contagion, physical distancing of 1.5 meters, use of alcohol in gel and constant hand washing.

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