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Work Happy
07 May 2020

Post-crisis perspective: Working habits are going to change

Lockdown has led many companies to adapt to the challenges of remote working. For some, it was about refining processes that were already well established, while for others it meant revising tools, work organization and management methods. In any case, these months of isolation will have certainly changed working habits. And it’s set to last.

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Flexible workspace as an alternative to the traditional office.

While, on paper, everyone will be free to return to the workplace as soon as the lockdown end, in reality, it may be more complicated. In a short term first, employees who can do so will be invited to continue teleworking. However, in the medium term, the transition is likely to take place in third places or shared workspaces. These spaces can be privatized, allowing small groups to meet, and can be accessed without using public transport. What Laëtitia Vitaud, a specialist in the future of work, already describes as « a form of BaaS, or Bureau as a Service », (in reference to SaaS, software as a service).

The meeting room will turn digital.

« Seeing less of each other but seeing each other better ». This is essentially what managers and their teams have learned from the past few months of confinement. No more « meetings mania », the focus is on efficiency: file-sharing tools, collaborative workspaces, videoconferencing services, decision-support tools, planning and project management applications, instant messaging, etc. These solutions are indispensable links in the telework chain and have been tested, discussed, challenged and finally adopted. They have multiplied and are offered at very competitive rates. And it is difficult to turn back once you have taken this step.

Proximity management… remotely.

The sudden leap into teleworking has had a significant impact on management habits. For the better… and sometimes for the worse! However, even the most diligent managers have had to let go and give more confidence and autonomy to their employees. The “vertical” relationship that sometimes existed between the hierarchy and the teams has tended to become horizontal.  What are the challenges of this new management? To grant confidence while having a clear vision of the accomplished performances. How can this be achieved? By using high-performance tools to work effectively and independently, and by maintaining regular individual and collective dialogue! Rhythms have changed, and so have rituals. It’s up to the manager to give the ” lead ” so that everyone agrees!

A quest for meaning that goes further.

This unprecedented situation has given rise to a great wave of solidarity, including numerous fundraising campaigns via digital platforms. Individually, everyone has questioned themselves, their role in society and the role they wish to play in the future. During this unique period when the private and professional spheres have come closer together, this questioning has also reached the corporate world and the role that each employee plays in it. While the transformation was already underway (reflection on CSR issues, questioning of the notion of purpose, etc.), the epidemic has re-injected commitment at all levels of organizations. From large groups to start-ups and SMEs. Therefore, it is hard to believe that this commitment will not continue within the company once the crisis is over. And why not become a recurring topic on professional agendas?

Moving towards a better consideration of personal life.

We all have in mind the images of Robert Kelly, an expert on South Korea, interrupted by his children in the middle of an interview with the BBC from his home. If this video went viral, it may have captured the daily lives of many workers during the lockdown. And while it may have been frowned upon to discuss private matters with the employer up to that point, it was soon clear that the family life quickly became a topic of discussion in work meetings. This may also have raised awareness of the difficulties that some employees, self-employed workers, big bosses or small business owners may encounter in their personal lives. Or perhaps it may simply have highlighted the challenge of living personal and professional lives together.

« There will be a before and after covid-19 ». This sentence, heard many times over the past few weeks, may well prove to be true in work habits. With one key word, at all levels: flexibility.



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