Published in the Peterborough Telegraph, 22nd April 2021
Hands up all those that used to think anyone who didn’t attend work because they had a cold was a wimp. You would have come into the workplace, head down, and just got on, wouldn’t you? You would have kept yourself to yourself, but still been in small meeting rooms with people and shaken hands. Hands up, if after thirteen months of experiencing a covid pandemic and how germs spread, you would shun the employee who tries to attend work whilst having a cold, for fear of catching it?
Hands up all those who used to think the employees who asked to work from home just wanted an easy ride and knew they wouldn’t be productive? You need to see the employee every day in the office to know that they are doing their job and you can manage them, right? Hands up, if after thirteen months of mandatory homeworking, productivity has gone up and employees are performing the role that they are employed for and there are less management issues?
Hands up all those who used to travel literally miles to have a thirty minute face to face meeting as doing it over the phone or Skype was not sufficient or viable options? You would have got up at 6am, driven those miles, got stuck in rush hour traffic but been ready on site, for that meeting at 9.00. Hands up, if after thirteen months of not being allowed to leave your home, you have found that business can be conducted successfully through a telephone call or a video meeting?
Interesting isn’t it, how mindsets can change so rapidly and permanently. Depending upon who you listen to, forming a habit can take only 21 days or embedding organisational change can take up to seven years. It has been a long time since an international issue has had such an influential impact on organisations operations and Covid seems to have affected so many different areas.
These three examples of how organisations have adapted during the pandemic are not the only ones, there are many more technological, cultural and task-centered changes that have been instigated in response to surviving Covid.
I urge organisations to review their changes and assess what works in the medium and long term and from this analysis, a) create a new ‘norm’, b) communicate the expectation and c) support the implementation.