The Covid-19 pandemic has had dramatic and rapid effects on the culture at work. And the year 2021 saw the global lockdown and travel bans overturn assumptions about the nature of work and the interactions between businesses.
Over the past year, people have found that they don’t have to be in an office, that they can do most things remotely. They don’t need to come to work. Others have made the switch from the jet set to the home with little effect on their business.
In short, it has taught us many trends and how work can be done effectively and efficiently without having to implement the typical work structure. Here’s a list of the changes we’ve seen in workplace cultures around the world in 2021.
1) Work from home
Over the past two years, the competition for talent has been fiercer than ever. At the same time, some talent groups are less willing to relocate with their employers than they were in the past. As organizations rebuild the way they work and identify what can be done remotely, they can make decisions about what roles to perform in person and to what extent.
For example, Apple said its employees will not be returning to their offices in February as scheduled due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. In addition, the company announced that it will give all of its employees a bonus $ 1,000 which can be used for their “work from home” needs.
2) Technological upgrade
Previously, for example, organizations may have generated ideas by calling a meeting, brainstorming on a physical or digital whiteboard, and assigning someone to refine the resulting ideas. A new process can include a period of asynchronous brainstorming on a digital chain and incorporating ideas from across the organization, followed by a period of several hours of debate and refinement in an open video conference.
Organizations should also reflect on their values and culture and the interactions, practices and rituals that promote that culture. A business that focuses on talent development, for example, should consider whether the little mentoring moments that happen in an office can spontaneously continue in a digital world. Other practices could be reconstructed and strengthened so that the organization creates and sustains the community and culture it seeks.
3) 4 day work week
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses around the world experimented with a four-day work week, but the model gained popularity as the world shifted to working from home.
Recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) became the first country in the world to implement a four-and-a-half-day work week for government employees. This plan will be implemented from January 1, 2022, as the state news agency WAM reported on December 7. This plan contrasts with the overall five-day work week, with Monday through Thursday the new work period will be 7:30 am. a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Friday it’s 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Previously, Spain, New Zealand, Japan and Ireland had implemented a 4-day weekly work schedule. Scotland and Iceland are among the countries experimenting with the 4-day working week trial.
4) Extensive data collection
Gartner analysis shows that 16% of employers are using technology more frequently to monitor their employees through methods such as virtual check-in and check-out, track computer use at work and monitoring employee emails or internal communications / chats. While some companies monitor productivity, others monitor employee engagement and well-being to better understand the employee experience.
Even before the pandemic, organizations increasingly used non-traditional employee monitoring tools, but this HR trend will be accelerated by new remote worker monitoring and the collection of employee health and safety data.
5) Extended role of the employer
The pandemic has increased the tendency of employers to play an increased role in the financial, physical and mental well-being of their employees. Support includes improved sick leave, financial assistance, adjusted hours of operation and childcare arrangements. Some organizations have supported the community, for example by shifting their activities to manufacturing goods or providing services to help fight the pandemic and by offering community relief funds and free community services.
The current economic crisis has also pushed the boundaries of how employers view the employee experience. Personal factors rather than external factors take precedence over what matters to both organizations and employees. Using such measures can be an effective way to promote the physical health and improve the emotional well-being of employees.
6) Humanization of employees
If not all, many organizations have recognized the humanitarian crisis of the pandemic and have prioritized the well-being of employees as people rather than employees as workers. Companies have been deliberate in the approach they have taken and aware of the effects on the employee experience, which will be lasting. The discussion focused on tackling inequalities if remote workers and worker engagement in team culture and creating a culture of inclusion.
As employers around the world try to get their workers back to the office, leaders must act now to ensure that when they return, workplaces are both productive and safe.
Organizations should also take advantage of this moment to break with the inertia of the past by shifting from old sub-optimal systems and habits. A well-planned return to offices can use this moment to reinvent their role and create a better experience for talent, improve collaboration and productivity, and reduce costs.This kind of change will require transformational, evidence-based thinking. Ultimately, the goal of this reinvention will be what good companies have always wanted: a safe environment where people can enjoy their work, collaborate with colleagues, and achieve their organizations’ goals.
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