The world experienced a dramatic shift in our everyday routines due to the global pandemic, and we’ve all been recovering and working to be back on track and establish what the new ‘normal is.’
For the past 18-24 months, companies have dealt with employees leaving due to the pandemic or as part of The Great Resignation. Now, employers are managing through what is labeled quiet quitting – a growing trend for the last half of 2022 as refute of the hustle culture.
Despite these forces, leaders must be well-equipped with the skills to support their teams and reduce the feelings that boundaries aren’t respected, or voices aren’t heard.
What's the New Workplace?
Your everyday work setting may have changed from an in-person model to a hybrid or fully remote one. While some industries have the luxury of being flexible, many don’t, which can create workplace friction.
It’s essential to adjust your management style to match your firm’s needs and have empathy & flexibility for your team member’s needs. Remote work requires more trust between your team members and yourself, yet it can be more productive for some team members, just as onsite work can be more productive for others.
Preventing Workplace Burnout
Workplace burnout is often attributed to the exhaustion from work, a work-life imbalance, or the general atmosphere of the workplace. Leaders must help identify factors within and outside of one’s control and how workplace performance and relationships are affected.
Depending on your industry, encourage your team to utilize the programs offered to them. Whether it's PTO and vacation, professional development opportunities, or steering team members to review employee wellness and mental health programs. Establish that the programs are there for them to take full advantage of, and be clear about how you can and will support them. The sooner you make this evident, and can be as clear and specific as possible, the less risk for workplace burnout.
The Remote/Hybrid Luxury
Some industries don’t have the flexibility to switch to a hybrid or all-remote workplace. Most manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare, and grocery jobs are just a few that could not work from home. It’s important to recognize that many of these employees were considered essential frontline workers during the pandemic.
Showing empathy and general appreciation for their efforts beyond the scope of lip service is what a skilled leader should be adept in. Grant special offers such as providing occasional lunch, assisting in the areas they lack, and if it calls for it – providing a bonus. Make it evident that their contribution efforts from the pandemic are still appreciated, as doing so will bring positive returns to the organization.
Embrace Change Through Inspiration
The changes we experienced through the pandemic are looking to stay for a while. Whether working from home, the general workplace attitude, or staff sizing, embracing the changes through inspiration will put you ahead of your competition. As you might find yourself having fewer opportunities to establish meaningful interactions, make the best of it by using some of these techniques:
Define your organization’s purpose to your employees. 82% of employees believe that a company that serves a purpose is likely to inspire employees to create meaningful work.
Encourage employees to live a life outside of work. Organizations should persuade employees to pursue their own passions and interests. Doing so strengthens the individual employees’ purpose to return back to work.
Allow for new perspectives. The future of work truly revolves around innovation and allowing creative insight from employees can further provide a competitive advantage for the organization.
Doing any one of these techniques will equip your staff with an inspirational feeling to not only perform effectively but in a way that benefit the organization as a whole.
Prepare For Turnover–Still
As the labor market is cooling off from the pandemic effects, demand for workers still remains high and industries have been experiencing some rapid turnover.
Inefficient management, little innovation, and toxic work environments are some factors that lead to high turnover. As some industries have more turnover than others, leaders in organizations can improve overall retention rates through the issues they address within their respective organizations
Giving helpful feedback, outlined in our “How to effectively provide performance feedback WITHOUT discouragement” blog, will allow your organization to maintain its turnover rate and as a byproduct, boost the team’s effectiveness.
Redefine The Work Standards
Employers should consider redefining workplace standards to best accommodate the needs of employees. Dependent on the industry, a “results-only” work environment may find it in their interest to allow workers to go home early after getting the job done. Other traditional industries may not be able to accommodate this, but having conversations with employees to make the best use of their time can also redefine the work standard. Regardless of the model of work or industry, these methods prevent the end-of-day unproductiveness with employees disengaged to work.
Showing actual redefined standards can best exemplify an organization’s appreciation of its workers.
What's The Takeaway
Working in a post-pandemic world is hard enough. Leaders must lean into their empathetic strengths as this will lead to better outcomes and being able to adapt to today’s world will set your organization for longevity.
Interested in reading more about COVID management training? Outlined in our “Here's How to Manage Remote Employees in the Age of COVID-19” blog, read more about additional ways to manage remote-styled work.
The post-pandemic workplace should reflect the lessons learned throughout the last couple of years and the priorities the organization holds. Workers are more aware than ever before of their personal workplace standards, and how leaders react determines the company's future.