In the now-infamous early days of 2020, the working world changed almost overnight with offices closing and millions of professionals moving to working from home. Armed with just their laptops, home computers, and many a Zoom call, people adapted to this ‘new normal’ while dealing with a global uncertainty unprecedented in modern times.
However, after the initial shock, companies realized that there were also benefits to this new way of working. Studies have shown that when people work remotely, they’re 63 percent more likely to report frequently or always be innovative, and 75 percent more likely to report often or always be engaged.
There are other perks to working remotely, too. People working remotely report they enjoy a better work-life balance and save time and money on commutes. Companies also saw that they could attract and retain talent more easily when they committed to these people-centric benefits.
Although change can be hard, it can also sometimes reveal positive and unexpected new ways of doing things. The world of work is continuously evolving—whether due to a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, or a number of other factors out of our control. Companies need to be flexible and agile in times of change and above all, be sensitive to their people’s needs and preferences.
So how can you evolve your business strategy to fit the modern workforce’s needs and demands as the world continues to change? Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can adapt.
Focus on connections
One of the boons of in-person working is the social connections people make. With hybrid and remote work structures becoming the norm, building and maintaining strong and lasting relationships between dispersed team members is imperative.
For teams working hybrid, on-site days can allow you to focus on face-to-face interactions, collaboration, and team-building activities. Use remote workdays to concentrate on completing tasks.
The key to building a successful dispersed team is curating a culture that focuses on empathy and connections between people—no matter where they may be in the world.
Encourage open and honest communication
Whether your team is hybrid or fully remote, fostering cultures of trust and openness is essential. It starts with communication and frequent, open, and honest conversations. Teams can achieve this with regular one-on-one meetings, team meetings, and even virtual group activities.
But, the best way to figure out what’s best for your people is to ask them. Ask them for their input regularly by running company-wide surveys, and show them that you are listening and acting on their feedback. Use performance reviews as an opportunity to hear how your people feel about their jobs and if they see opportunities for growth within the company. Keeping in constant touch with your people helps promote trust, reduce stress levels, and support mental health and wellbeing.
Prioritize health and wellbeing
Your mental and physical health plays a huge role in your everyday life, at work and at home. To support their people, companies are offering more robust health coverage and wellness programs–and they go far beyond gym memberships and weekly yoga courses.
People report record levels of burnout and prioritize their mental health more than ever before. In response, employers are committing to improving mental health for their people and their families with expanded mental health coverage, onsite counseling services, and subscriptions to meditation and wellness apps.
Giving your people the freedom to set their working hours is another excellent example of how employers can prioritize their people’s wellbeing. If people have young children that need to be taken to school, flexible hours allow them to turn up to work an hour later and make up that time elsewhere. Other people may find that working three hours longer one day so they can take three hours off the next works best.
Ultimately, giving your team more control over their working lives helps take the weight off their shoulders and improves their mental state.
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Maintain a transparent company culture
Change is all around us, whether it’s a company reorganization, changes to the market, or global economic instability. This can impact your people at the ground level, evoking feelings of anxiety, job insecurity, and general gloom.
Dispel rumors and gain trust by maintaining a transparent company culture where you speak openly about any changes and their impact. This will help to reassure your people and ultimately lead to increased loyalty.
The bottom line: Your team is the heartbeat of your company
When forward-thinking companies invest in putting their people first–listening to their feedback, providing flexibility, and being open and transparent, they get a healthy, productive, and engaged workforce in return. After all, your team is the heart of your company–and they’re the key to sustainable and long-term success.