Changing Workplace Trends
The pandemic forced the world to change the way it does business. What we thought we knew about productivity, team building and employee engagement was turned on its head.
Now leaders must decide what the "new normal" will look like for their business. As with most challenges, it opens doors for an opportunity for leaders to revamp and revitalize how their team will work going forward.
A few trends are evolving in the workplace that you should keep on your radar.
1. Rise of the Hybrid Office
We're not returning to the same workplace we left. Many employers want their workforce back in the office, but many employees want flexibility. Employers need to balance their and employee preferences.
Introducing flexibility into the office is challenging, and many companies are turning to some form of a hybrid. Allowing employees to work from home for a portion of the workweek.
But what hybrid work will look like for each organization and team is evolving. Businesses will need policies to address the onslaught of questions that remote and hybrid policies create. How many workdays will employees be required to be in the office? Should employers pay for work home costs such as internet and hardware? Will employees in different geographic markets be paid at the same rate as on-site employees?
Setting guidelines and continually tracking the effectiveness of these policies will be critical. And leaders will need to be intentional in communication and share frequent updates with their teams.
2. Implementing Additional Cybersecurity
The pandemic forced organizations to shift their workforces to remote work rapidly. Cloud-based applications became essential for businesses to function partially or fully remotely; this opened additional cybersecurity concerns.
With ongoing remote work, employees' homes pose new cybersecurity risks, and employers are finding ways to mitigate cyber threats. Home offices are less protected than centralized offices.
Many companies are increasing investment in IT functions and limiting the number of clouds in which they store data. Businesses that invested heavily in secure firewalls, routers and access management will need to balance access with efforts to protect data and assets. Critical will be identifying and mitigating security vulnerabilities, improving systems, implementing security controls and ensuring proper monitoring.
3. Redefining Company Culture
With many employees having limited in-person opportunities to interact over the past two years, some have seen their company culture erode. Uniform experiences which were the benchmarks of many organizations, became fragmented. Company culture encompasses the everyday behaviors, attitudes and policies in the office, so it didn't go away; it just changed.
Leaders need to address the array of experiences and shift their mindset to redefining their company culture. Building and improving workplace culture does not happen overnight and will take a commitment to redefining. First, you need to understand your current climate and implement strategies that will be effective in improving the culture in your organization.
Set the time to develop plans to ensure a focus on employee engagement. Start by assessing the current culture through focus groups, employee surveys or informal conversations. Use the information to develop a diverse cross-section employee retention plan.
4. Focusing on Employee Well-Being
Employee well-being has become an even greater area of focus in many organizations. Before the pandemic, most employers focused on health care and vision plans, while a few threw in perks like discounts on gym memberships, healthy snacks in the break room and other small perks.
Balancing working remotely, homeschooling and overall social isolation left employees feeling tired, burned out and alone. Well-being is an opportunity for employers to support employees in their personal and work lives. And employee perceptions of how committed you are to their health and well-being can influence the level of employee engagement.
Employee well-being has stretched to include physical, emotional, financial, social and career wellness. Many companies are expanding their wellness programs in the wake of the pandemic. A Gartner survey found that 85% of companies increased support for mental health benefits and 50% increase support for physical wellness programs.
If you already have some existing mental health initiatives, you're already taking a step in the right direction. However, it doesn't hurt to review them. If you don't have any, you'll need to create some.
As the pandemic resets and evolves work trends, leaders need to rethink management, performance and experience strategies. Companies need to be flexible about plans and rethink workspaces. Contact Garrett S. Shames at Glowacki Management (814) 452-3681 to learn how we can help.