5 Things to Help Prepare for the "New Normal"

Everyone I speak to has at least one story about what they have learned during the pandemic. Some have learned how to unplug and read more, develop a new skill and spend quality time with their families. Others have taken the opportunity to pivot to a new facet of their business or in some cases, swivel to a completely new business.


What has the pandemic taught you? What is it that you have learned or done differently? Most importantly, how are you going to leverage it as we start to see the light at the end of the Covid tunnel?


Here are 5 things we need to think about to help us prepare for the new normal.


1. Keep your options open

Just as adjusting to working from home was an acute change, so also will be returning to the office. For many, the change will not come easily. Some employees will be hesitant and less than willing to come back in person. Be sure to keep your options open. How can your company be more flexible? Could you offer a hybrid system to help employees ease back into things?


A few of the clients and business owners I've spoken with have already decided to reduce their office space and just have a core crew in the office. Others have already made the leap and gone completely virtual. Whatever decision works best for your company, consider the impact on your people, which leads to my next point.


2. Focus on your people

More than half of those surveyed in North America plan to look for a new job in 2021, according to a new report. Separate research shows that a quarter of workers plan to quit their jobs outright once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and recruiting efforts ramp up.


Better compensation and benefits (35%) and improved work/life balance (25%) are the top two reasons why employees would leave their current job, according to research commissioned by the Achievers Workforce Institute, the research arm of Achievers, an employee recognition software company in Toronto. The institute surveyed 2,000 employed adults in February, finding that 52% are looking for a new job, up from 35% a year earlier.


The pandemic has provided people time to re-evaluate work life balance and what they want from a job, and it appears many are not getting one or either from their current employer. What can you do to retain your people and attract new hires? People and supply chain will be the two biggest challenges to overcome as we move to the new normal.


3. Demonstrate empathy

Just as you have gone through many changes during this time, so have the people that work for you. It is very important that we as leaders never lose sight of the fact. Enforced lock down, quarantines, kids constantly home from school and financial worries are just some of the stressful byproducts that we have all experienced.


Stress and anxiety levels have increased across the board, meaning that we need to be more empathetic than maybe we normally are or have been in the past. One of the suggestions we provide to our clients is to have more 1:1 meetings with your direct reports. When you are in those meetings, let them do the talking. Not only can you uncover issues and try to work towards a joint solution, you can help alleviate some of the stress employees are putting on themselves to be all things to everyone. These regular conversations are key to improving and maintaining employee satisfaction.


4. Reinforce what you stand for

Whatever the changes, your Core Values should not have changed. Now is a great time to revisit these and remind you, your people, customers, clients and suppliers what you stand for. Your values are your company's anchor through any storm. They should demonstrate what you believe in and with all this change, you need to remain true to them. It will build on your trust bank.


5. Capture the habits you have learned and maintain them

The pandemic has provided many of us with a great opportunity to change our lives. Whether it has been learning new things, reading more, starting scenario planning, pivoting our business, spending more time with the family, reflecting - don’t revert. Make sure we maintain some of these new healthy habits and build on them.


The new normal is going to be challenging in many ways, but we should be careful not to rush back to a place as if none of this never happened. If we do, we will be wasting a wonderful learning opportunity that can make us stronger in the brave new world.


Author, Peter Beaumont, is a Business Advisor with The Resultants™. To learn more about Peter, visit our Team Page or connect with him on Linkedin.

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No one builds a strong business on their own. You need a team of people working with you to do it. And of course – the larger the company, the larger the group of people it takes to operate. With more people, the more disjointed a company culture can become.


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