Home » Future of work » How to manage change in the workplace after COVID-19

David Price

CEO and Wellbeing Expert, Health Assured

It’s becoming quite obvious that we don’t live and work in a perfect world.

Whatever your opinions of the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is clear to absolutely everybody – once everything is done, and the restrictions are lifted, we will be returning to a radically different ‘normal’.

One that may be almost recognisable as the normality we enjoyed last year, but with some key differences.

There’s a distrust in the air over mixed messaging, perceived inequality and uncertainty about just what we should be doing – both as members of the public, and as business leaders.

As many as 60% of employees say they’ll benefit from more workplace support.

It’s vitally important that this mood isn’t allowed to take over in the workplace.

An uncertain working environment is far from a happy working environment, and an unhappy working environment is not productive.

So, what can you do to predict, acknowledge and cope with the seismic shift in working practices, expectations and happiness that COVID-19 has wrought?

It’s simple. Provide easy access to the help people need.

When it comes to uncertainty, anxiety and negativity about circumstances, the best way to mitigate those issues is by ensuring people can get advice they can trust.

Schools, offices, building sites, hospitals—each is important to the economy, and each is staffed by real human beings, each with fears, worries and anxieties about the strange new future we’ve been thrown into.

Dealing with this future is going to require flexibility on the part of business leaders.

The days of unilaterally deciding what’s best for everyone in one fell swoop are behind us. After all, in the aftermath of a great leveller like a global pandemic, what use is presenteeism?

Do people really need to be made to attend hour after hour of meetings, roundtables and brainstorming sessions when they could be working – far more efficiently – in the style that suits them best?

And, as well as this flexibility, the importance of workplace wellbeing cannot be overstated.

Whether working remotely or venturing back on-site, people are going to be understandably nervous. Months of restriction and ominous messaging will do that.

As many as 60% of employees say they’ll benefit from more workplace support.

A comprehensive, clinically based employee assistance programme is perfect for this – confidential, secure, 24/7 365 counselling helplines, with digital offerings in the form of apps and online support, encourage people to voice their concerns, and find real, actionable help.

So support, advice, and workplace counselling are going to see an explosion in growth – because the best workplaces, the ones that truly care, will do everything in their power to make sure their people know it.

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