In a post-COVID world, the needs and preferences of the workforce have significantly shifted. Business leaders on the cutting edge are adapting to the changes in employee priorities to promote well-being and retention within their teams. This article provides three strategies managers can consider to foster trust, independence, and connection in the new era of work.
Three Strategies to Implement in Your Workplace
1. Prioritize Employee Stability
The unprecedented pandemic posed uncertainty across many areas of life, including professionally. Following widespread layoffs, company shutdowns, and the continued economic ramifications of COVID-19, it makes sense that employees are increasingly seeking certainty from their employers. Business leaders should prioritize creating a consistent environment that their team members can count on.
Fostering stability in the workplace can look different for each organization. Top tactics include transparent communication between managers and their teams, clear growth trajectories, benefits that support employee well-being, and competitive compensation. Implementing a stability strategy across team culture, career development, and employee health allows workers to plan for the future.
2. Encourage Autonomy
Amidst quarantines and stay-at-home orders, many businesses introduced modified work arrangements that challenged the traditional 9-to-5, five-days-per-week model. Professionals across the globe traded in their daily commute for remote or hybrid models. With the flexibility sweeping into corporate America, the possibilities and priorities for workers shifted.
Autonomy became a preference shared by the modern-day workforce, and the new standard is two-fold. First, at a time of existential sensitivity, people began to contemplate their experiences and needs at work, and at the top of the list is role ownership. To accommodate this new perspective, managers should avoid micromanagement leadership styles and instead lean into their team members’ input, creativity, and deadline setting.
Second, employees continue to opt for remote and hybrid working models. Managers should consider employee feedback regarding work-life balance and find ways to offer flexibility without sacrificing business needs. Furthermore, business leaders should trust their teams’ productivity, whether in the office or working from home, and in turn, companies can gain a competitive edge in generating positive outcomes internally and externally.
Moreover, remote work models have been shown to directly benefit businesses with significant cost savings. Without the expense of office space and employee commuting plans, employers carry less annual overhead, and digital programs are a small investment in comparison. Some helpful tools and technologies to explore for a streamlined remote office experience include document workflow solutions, VoIP-hosted phone services, and cloud printing.
3. Drive Team Engagement
Another challenge leaders are learning to navigate is the need for more connection and camaraderie. During the height of COVID-19, most businesses were new to remote work and had yet to discover how to keep team members feeling the same level of support they felt when in the office. Additionally, many people were separated from family, friends, and the rest of their network, increasing isolation and loneliness.
As the workforce settles into the post-COVID workplace, connection is vital. Managers can drive team engagement through weekly check-ins, easy-to-access communication channels like Slack, and in-person gatherings such as yearly work trips or group volunteer events. A strong sense of community and belonging within a team leads to improved employee wellness and enhanced digital or in-person collaboration.
The COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly became a catalyst for the future of work, growing our need for adaptive technologies and new management solutions. While it can be challenging for businesses to stay updated with best practices in an ever-evolving workplace, the strategies outlined in this article are an excellent place to begin. Above all else, as we move toward healthier work standards for our teams, perhaps the most significant lesson of the pandemic is the continued need for human-centered leadership.
Applied Innovation’s experts have helped companies of all sizes support their workforce through high-powered, efficient products and solutions. Contact one of our automation specialists in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, or Tampa, Florida to take the next step in setting up processes that will save your company time and money.