The outbreak of Covid-19 in recent times have displaced everyone out of their comfort zones. Both businesses and individuals have been vastly affected as they are being forced to face the challenges posed by the new normal.
Implementations of overnight changes which include remote working conditions, disrupted supply chains, cash crunches and uncertain compliance obligations have disrupted routines all over the world.
Keeping these information in mind, here are 5 ways to prepare your teams for the new normal as we progress through this pandemic.
Implementing New Safety Measures
The most important thing to do for teams to better prepare for the new normal is by planning and implementing safety measures to keep employees/teams safe and functioning effectively.
The unforeseen change of circumstances have thrown many individuals off their balance and it is essentially important for individuals to follow safety protocols in these unprecedented times.
For the teams that have to return to the office to work after these past 2 months, stress is highly likely to take stage in individuals. Additionally, anxiety can also undermine one’s well-being.
These effects may be taking place due to the fact that teams now have to deal with the unfamiliar struggles of exploring new territory as they figure out how to readjust to the new working conditions as opposed to when they were working from home.
According to an article published by Forbes.com, “creating a positive work experience mirrors the safety people perceive at home”. The work experience for teams, when enhanced by leaders, can supply a kind of “psychological safety” for employees.
This can then result in teams to be more creative, feel better appreciated, take bigger risks, and motivate them to think up of new innovations for their works and projects.
While employers and leaders of various organisations adjust to the challenges posed by the new normal, teams can assist and cooperate with their superiors by practicing safety measures and protocols should they be required to go back to the office at this time.
As mentioned in an article published by Jdsupra.com, the number one priority for any company needs to be the “safety of employees and the community at large”. This can be achieved by the proper implementation and following of safeguards.
Some examples of these safeguards include thorough disinfecting and cleaning of worksites regularly, practicing social distancing, ensuring ample supplies of hand sanitisers, establishing daily routine checks of temperatures, for instance.
As our circumstances continue to be affected through the uncertainties posed by the pandemic, it is important for individuals to practice safety measures and protocols when working within the office settings, so that teams can better prepare for the new normal soon.
Create A Better Home Office
For those who have to remain working from home, creating a better home office is one way that teams can better prepare for the new normal. Over the course of the past few months, remote working conditions or telecommuting have been established by many organisations and employers across the globe.
As a result, the creation of home offices or the makeover of a small space at home so that individuals can work more effectively are on the rise. While employers juggle with these novel changes and consider switching work styles from here on out, perhaps it is time for employees to make themselves a little more comfortable when it comes to the matter of working from home.
Considering investing in multi-purpose furnitures and incorporating brighter lighting into your work space could be a start. Including “greeneries” and electronic equipment to enhance your work routines could be another possible idea worth looking into as well.
It is also especially important that individuals create a marked-off space so that they can differentiate their working environments from their homely space. This will help employees who have to work from home maintain their privacy and still be able to contribute attention to work effectively.
Making these slight changes to your new working environment can help boost productivity and engagement levels while significantly contributing to your work life balance too.
As such, learning to juggle both personal and professional lives by creating a home office is one of ways teams can better prepare for the new normal in the future.
Back-Up Plans And Risk Management
The next method that individuals can adopt is to have back-up and risk management plans so that teams can better prepare for the normal. The pandemic has created quite the havoc and can easily overwhelm people with its fear and negativity.
When things may not be working out as expected, teams “should not rush from one initiative to the next without giving it sufficient time to assess its effectiveness”. Instead, they should be able to fall back on their back-up and risk management plans to survive a crisis.
Leaders and teams should consider spending some time to plan on what can be done to expose employees to the least amount of risk and which protocols to adopt to keep the organisation running smoothly since the world is dealing with a crisis contemporarily.
One example of such a risk management plan include teams mandating ahead of time that “sick employees or those affected by Covid-19 should stay home” to rest and take time off work to recover.
Additionally, teams can also plan on deciding and prioritising which employees should return to the workplace first based on what work needs to be done chronologically and with the utmost priority.
Teams can also consider factoring in back-up work schedules and plans to help colleagues who are, for instance, parents who may have “child-care obligations” to attend to.
In cases where these individuals face difficulty in handling their work, teams can have substitute employees take on the workload in the meantime.
For scenarios where employees may need to take a day off from their annual leave or for medical reasons, it is also important that teams are ready to put their back-up plans into action effective immediately.
As such, teams can adapt and adjust to the changes by having back-up and risk management plans, so that they can prepare for the new normal sooner rather than later.
Keep Communication Channels Alive
Another way that teams can better prepare for the new normal is by putting in energy into keeping their available communication channels alive. This is a critical step to ensure that employees remain in touch with each other and can continue work processes without them getting disrupted.
Team members can also assist one another by creating a dedicated channel for communication needs with regards to the possible situational problems as posed by Covid-19 for employees.
The International Association of Business Communicators suggests keeping communication channels alive by first establishing trust within teams.
The board also suggests keeping each other “regularly updated with credible information” and constantly practicing “recognition” of efforts as it can demonstrate generosity and build trust in these trying times.
The Head of People Operations at Typeform, Daniella Sikora, added that it is especially important “to support people in this new reality by introducing initiatives that focus on mental and physical wellbeing, open lines of support and reinforcing frequent and open communication” within teams.
Keeping communication channels open for feedback is also an important factor. In Feedback and Other Dirty Words, Tamra Chandler shares more on what feedback actually is and what it isn’t. Using feedback as a constructive tool to help teams move toward something can also be a motivating form of communication when working remotely.
As such, keeping communication channels alive by establishing trust, taking initiative to provide regular, credible information and providing ample room for feedback is also one way that teams can better prepare for the new normal today.
Maintain A Higher Team Spirit
Finally, an important but often underestimated way that teams can better prepare for the new normal is by maintaining the team spirit. With remote working becoming a norm in today’s world, “retaining the sense of togetherness” between colleagues is of utmost importance.
In order to ensure that the team spirit between colleagues is continuously maintained, “there will be a need to create informal events and opportunities to interact” in spite of the remote working conditions that have already been established.
This can be done by holding virtual parties where colleagues can come together, outside the context of work to reconnect with each other. “Scheduling video cocktail/tea sessions” with the assistance of video-calling platforms like Zoom or Skype are a couple of examples that teams can employ to maintain the team spirit.
When team spirit is instilled in every individual that is part of a social group, it allows “innovative ideas to flourish and helps in conceiving and executing various problem-solving approaches”. It also makes room for creativity to take stage while allowing individuals to come together to achieve success collectively.
By holding informal events despite the limitations of social distancing during this period and instilling the strong spirit of teamwork within individuals is also one way that teams can better prepare for the new normal.
During this crisis, the clash of work and home has made us realise that everyone is in the same boat. This is why it is so important that individuals play their part with others in the team to face the challenges posed by the new normal head on.
Understanding that the new normal presents a significant opportunity for businesses to innovate, adapt and move forward with a positive outlook can help teams to keep the bigger picture in mind. The numerous challenges posed by the new normal are all surmountable by teams as long as they put in the effort to better prepare for plausible problems that they anticipate might come their way.
We hope the 5 tips we have shared in this article will help you to tackle the challenges you may be facing so that you and your team can emerge from this difficult time stronger than ever before.
StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in empowering leaders by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you want to learn more about the Strengths Team Building Program, feel free to reach out to us here.