If you’ve been following our blog, you know we’ve been talking a lot about what’s next and how the world will look post Covid-19. In today’s post, the final post in this series, we’ll tackle what’s next for staff and internal teams.
Almost overnight we transitioned from heading to our office, sitting across from each other in meetings and gathering at the water cooler to being separated in our own homes. For some, the ability to work from home was a welcome change while others missed the comradery and company of their colleagues. Managers rolled up their sleeves and began to learn how to motivate and support remote teams. Employees learned to juggle meetings and daily work with home life without the mental separation that a physical workplace helps create. We've seen the human side of people at an increased level - whether that's parents juggling schedules or kids interrupting a zoom call - and we've embraced it.
And while we thought (and hoped!) this might only last a short while, the days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months. Three plus months later, many states are opening back up and allowing employees to venture to their offices while others are closing back down. So, we’re left with the question… what does this mean for the future?
1. People are going to expect increased flexibility and the old excuses won't fly. The days of needing to take a half-day to have a home repair are over - and they should be. In a world as interconnected as ours, as long as you have your computer and phone, you can work from anywhere (provided you're not a frontline program provider). It will be increasingly hard for management teams to turn down these requests now that employees are equipped with the tools to do their jobs remotely and now that organizational leaders and employees have seen how this can all work.
2. The age-old “work-life balance” conversation will be heightened. But this time it will hopefully be accompanied by the same increased understanding of the importance of family time that we have seen throughout the pandemic. For better or for worse, families have had an unprecedented amount of time together these last few months. And even the people who can't wait to have a break, have also acknowledged the positives of that time and recognized that they may never have it again. It's true that we may never be stuck in our homes with our families for an extended period of time and it's also true (or let's hope that it's true) that making the shift back to long days and late nights at the office might prove more difficult as parents don't want to miss out on those special moments. We hope that the workforce will bring the same sense of increased empathy and understanding that it had in the pandemic world into the post-pandemic world. We believe the world will be better off for it.
3. Teams are going to look for connection and collaboration. Many of us miss our colleagues. We miss the ability to gather and talk informally. We even miss the meetings and twirly conference room chairs. When the world reopens, teams will look for that in-person and human connection. They will be excited to see each other and work together and it will be our responsibility, as leaders, to provide those opportunities for team building.
4. The spotlight on diversity and inclusion is here to stay. It’s no longer enough to talk about diversity and inclusion – and in our opinion, that’s a good thing. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves and our teams and to change the ways we operate and do business. As team members become more aware of the need for this type of training, bringing people together for a lecture will no longer be enough. We have a responsibility to engage in tough conversations with open hearts. We have a responsibility to explore our unconscious biases and to think about how we can be better. We have a responsibility to examine our team, culture, communications and vocabulary and see what changes need to be made to be more inclusive. After all, if we want to be the change-makers in our communities, we must be willing to make changes within ourselves.
5. Empathetic managers will prevail. We always think empathetic managers do better, create more successful teams and stronger outcomes. This will especially be true in the post-pandemic world. We may find that not everyone feels comfortable returning to an office right away or that people have different fears and different needs. The empathetic manager will be able to talk with their employees, help people navigate through the complexities and will be open to individualized solutions rather than a one-size fits all approach.
6. Learning how to manage remote teams will be key. While it’s unpopular to say, it will likely be a while before your full team is back in the office every day. And even when that does happen, many employees will expect more flexibility in their working environment. That’s why it’s more important than ever to learn how to successfully manage and motivate remote teams.
Our people are our biggest assets. As nonprofit professionals, we know that your organization couldn’t have the impact it does without a talented team of mission-driven individuals. We’re here to help you support them in the ways they need to be supported over the coming months. Please reach out to us for a complimentary coaching session to strategize about how you can help your team continue changing the world, even if it’s from their own homes.