As we start to stabilize back to a world without a pandemic raging our day-to-day life, figuring out our "new normal" is tricky. Whether it's your personal or professional life, this past year has caused a shift in how we live and prioritize our lives. And that includes our professional lives, too.
Some businesses went remote, others had flex options, and 9 million alternate other solutions were implemented too - as we all tried to stop the spread. Thankfully, we don't have the same unknowns and fears that we had then, but we do have adjustments to make as employees, employers, and entrepreneurs. How will we transition back/forward?
According to Upwork, 41.8% of the American workforce continues to work remotely.
26.7% of employers say they plan to keep employees remote after the pandemic
54% of adults want to work remotely most of the time after the pandemic, according to a new study from IBM.
So how can employers and employees navigate the change?
As an employee
Whether you worked in office, off-site, or remote this year, chances are you've experienced changes over the past year. If you are managing a transition back into the office after working remotely, or switching to a flexible system, or continuing to work remotely - the change can be scary. So how can you help prepare yourself for the transition?
Self care. It sounds silly, but it truly works. Get your rest, take your vitamins, and exercise.
Ask questions. Make sure you are clear with your employers on what the policies are moving forward. Don't be afraid to ask questions even if they seem silly to you. There might be other team members that are wondering the same thing you are. Getting the right clarifications is important so that everyone knows what to expect.
Take advantage of colleagues. If you're going back to work in the office, it may seem strange to have colleagues to interact with in person on a day to day basis. And whilst the transition might make you uneasy, don't let it! There's always something you can learn, teach, and share with colleagues which will help you flourish in your career. Share your knowledge with colleagues and vice versa.
Brush up on your EQ. As a lot of us are returning to the office, we may not have spent as much time interacting with people in the workplace. Sure, there's Zoom calls, but that's not quite the same. Spend a little time brushing up on your emotional intelligence so that you can set yourself up to succeed in the office. Pick up a book, watch a TED talk, or just do a simple evaluation and see where you can identify ways in which you can improve. Practice makes perfect, so don't stress yourself out - just keep working on improvement.
As an employer
The most critical thing employers must do no matter how they are transitioning to their new normal is set clear expectations. If it is acceptable to work some days from home, "what is some?", "when will the policy be effective?" Think through any scenario that may happen and come up with a clear set policy. Write the policy out formally for good measure, and send it via email so your employees have it on reference. We suggest holding a formal meeting to discuss changes as well.
Another thing employers need to take note of, is that no matter what changes you are implementing - change is scary. Keep in mind that some people may not like the changes as well, and make sure you are compassionate and understanding to individuals feelings. Make sure employees know that they are valued and their feedback is taken into account. Make sure your employees know they matter.
How has your business handled the return to the new normal? We'd love to hear your stories and highlight them on our blog. Send us a tweet or drop us a line for a chance to get featured.
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