Whatever your future working culture is going to be, it probably will not be the same as it was. Look at the way your people work together to get things done and see what you can learn from the way you have been organized. Consider three elements of your work (though you may have more, depending on your situation).
What have you learned about virtual teams? For a long time, you may have struggled with having team members, or employees and managers, working from different locations. For the last few months, though, that might be all you have done. What have you learned about how people can effectively communicate, collaborate, and innovate with people in other places? Since you were forced to do it, are you doing it any better?
Along those lines, do you feel like the need for oversight by managers has changed? Do you perhaps find a stronger degree of trust in the company, and if so, can your working culture evolve to use it? One reason managers resisted having employees work from home was the idea that, “If I can’t see my people working, how do I know they’re working?” After a few months of trying it out, what’s the result?
Finally, did you cut back on meetings? Or did you just replace all your in-person meetings with online meetings? Some companies have found that they cut back on meetings and business didn’t suffer. If that’s the case for you, maybe you should reduce your meetings going forward. Some companies focused instead on making meetings more useful, so they adopted techniques like
- sending agendas around in advance
- limiting the amount of time people could talk, or
- requiring data to be presented rather than just opinions
If they found they got more done in less time, then they shouldn’t stop doing that.
As one American executive said, “The coronavirus, and its economic and social fallout, is a time machine to the future. Changes that many of us predicted would happen over decades are instead taking place in the span of weeks.” Consider what you have learned about how your employees work best, and put it to use.