The coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives over recent months. A recent YouGov poll showed that most people believe that the adjustments made necessary in recent months will permanently change the working environment. The press has widely referred to this as the ‘new normal’ – but what is that and how do we get there?
Cadence Innova has been working with a number of clients as they adapt to deliver their services in a new way, with many of their staff confined to their homes. The last few months have been hard on individuals, families and businesses, but there are positives to be found in adversity. In many organisations it has been a catalyst to a much wider adoption of smarter working, which, if harnessed correctly, can improve staff wellbeing and work/life balance in the long-term. Indeed, we are already seeing employers who are emphasising this aspect of their employee offer to support recruitment and retention.
Short–term changes to your buildings cannot be underestimated and will need to be planned carefully. Nonetheless, long term changes to working patterns will also impact your estate. Initially this may be a consideration of the workspace design to ensure that the space is suitable for the tasks your team need to physically meet to undertake; the smarter working adage of ‘work is a thing we do, not a place we go’. In the longer term, these changes to work styles may result in a rationalisation of the estate, as there is a step–change in agile working.
At the heart of all of this is your staff. Your people are the most fundamental asset that you have, and many are not finding it easy. Working from home can be isolating and lead to both physical and mental challenges. Childcare has interrupted work (and video conferences!) in all organisations. It has been a worrying time for many. At Cadence Innova our approach to change is always people-centred as our 7–step approach to designing and implementing the ‘new normal’ explains:
- Create a genuine dialogue: this builds confidence and a sense of inclusion in designing the ‘new normal’.
- Really consider your buildings: what are they for? How can their usage be adapted in future? What are your real capacity needs?
- Adapt your working environment to make it safe for those who will be in it.
- Anticipate and nudge the behavioural changes which will be necessary in buildings.
- Understand the impact of commuting and travel as part of returning to the office.
- Perfect remote working protocols and develop leadership and management styles to suit.
- Take positive steps to support wellbeing in the long term
With a 14-year track record of people-centric change consultancy, and involvement in all aspects of transforming our clients’ culture, workplace, business processes, technology and adoption of digital, we can help in the next stage of your organisation’s journey. Adopting the ‘new normal’ can be a positive change, and people-centric change is what we do.
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