Today on Wundamail Voices, we hear from Professor Manish Thakur of The English Academy, and Podcaster of The Alchemist Reads. He shares his thoughts and tips on how managers and leaders can prepare for restarting their teams, post COVID-19.
What do you think the future of work looks like post-crisis?
Office space and work time will all go through some sweeping changes, for sure. Post COVID-19, there will be no more open office spaces, individual cubicles for every employee will be back in vogue, cramped meetings with a large assortment of office staff in a single room will be no longer - and Zoom is here to stay. No more after-office parties or celebrations of any company milestone but instead, a sober get-together while maintaining social distancing. No more co-workers, co-staff shenanigans or pranks on new comers in the Office. Most importantly, many countries will now consider a 4 day working week and having the fifth day as compulsory working from home for everyone, with the remaining days either WFH or in the office. Finally, travelling to the office will be reduced, as the majority of people will continue to meet online in the post COVID-19 world of work.
How should managers/leaders prepare?
The managers and leaders in the know should primarily be focusing on how to boost the morale of their staff after going through this hellacious home quarantine and lockdown period due to COVID-19. They have to keep amping up the attitude of their work force and never let it fall.
Leaders also need to keep training their staff in new office software or any other tech that can add value to their skills and productivity to the office. Also, collaborate with other teams from other offices a lot more, new joint ventures could make help your company get new balls. Finally, I would stress not to fire or furlough any employee during this difficult transition. Utilise their skills and help them make the company emerge as a strong brand out of these times of hardship and difficulty.
Do you think this is a step in the right direction and why?
Yes. Any company, firm, factory, office or brand offering any product or service has to now appear as if they're work coming out of this perfect storm of COVID-19 as a strong, confident, mature place with teams and individuals who can not only make profits for the company and dividends for the shareholders, but who can also create long term successful careers for their employees. Thus, every manager/leader now has to be very flexible in their approach, less deliberative and more participative in their work ethic. These eminent officials in the company have to cut through the hierarchy ranks now and become movers and shakers to ensure their businesses and offices get moving again.
What tips do you have for restarting teams?
The project teams in our offices, in every department, now have to get their ears back to the ground and go back to the basics. It's time to get back to the things they've picked in the early days in the office, which when put simply is: to give 100 percent attention towards your client’s satisfaction and get the job done before the deadline. No more extra sessions, brainstorming meetings, endless hours of discussions on how to fulfil a client’s expectations par excellence. After the COVID-19 experience, all that counts is; basic training, daily attendance, job completion and attention to details by these teams - it doesn't matter if they’re working from home or the office. And yes, keep getting the team retrained in the new innovative software or hardware to get the job done effectively and efficiently.