In the wake of the pandemic, companies everywhere have had to scramble to stay afloat not only in their fiscal goals, but in their business practices as well. Businesses have had to discover new ways to keep their employees compensated, involved and happy during unprecedented times. It’s become obvious that some things work better than others at maintaining a sense of normalcy for their employees.
The nature of company culture has shifted immensely. Priorities have moved away from in-office efforts to create connections to digital networks as employees began to work from home or operate under the necessary restrictions required to stay open. Let’s take a look at the ways the pandemic altered workplace dynamics, in ways both challenging and beneficial.
When confronted with the new challenges of pandemic life, companies were required to make swift, mindful decisions concerning daily operations. Employers were faced with unprecedented challenges in keeping employee spirits up and finding new ways to maximize their productivity and well-being in a time characterized by global despair. Companies that prioritized employee prosperity, both tangible and emotional, by practicing compassion in business were far more likely to see success within their new business models.
The world was faced with innumerable unknowns, requiring businesses to reconnect with their core objectives and roll out solutions within a matter of days, and often even hours. Never before have businesses been faced with challenges that necessitated such acute flexibility. As health and safety information shifted and evolved over the course of days, weeks and months, so have companies’ approach to business practices.
In the challenging, uncharted territory of business management in the context of a pandemic, company’s have had to lay bare their capacities for optimal function. Companies’ financial status was made vaguely known as employees looked to their management teams for compensation and job security during shutdowns and furloughs. Digital information and capability to shift business to an online forum revealed the limits of a company’s technical prowess, while human resources departments scrambled to find ways to assist employees in the transition to their new, temporary normal.
More than ever, both business weakness and strengths were revealed to their employees and the general public. Companies that maintained an honest, genuine dialogue with their employees about their ability to recoup after the initial blows to their business have been far more likely to keep a satisfied, stable team company-wide.
Quite suddenly, employees all over the world were thrust into a world of uncertainty. Workers with stellar sales records, perfect attendance and stable employment unexpectedly began to worry intensely about the future of their employment, and whether they would remain employed at all. Though companies didn’t instantly have all the answers, businesses showed up to provide any and all relevant information about operations with anxious employees. This increase in straightforward, sympathetic communication did wonders to ease the minds of their loyal employees.
The various forms of company communication shifted as well. Virtual meeting rooms, digital conference calls and more frequent emails replaced in-house meetings and face-to-face interactions. Employees could connect with coworkers and management from the comfort of their own office using workplace forums and virtual connections. Client meetings were held virtually, and nearly all business was done over the internet -- a stark contrast for many companies whose business models involved person to person interactions as part of their company practices. Digital file storage also became a new normal for many companies, providing ease of access for both employees and management.
In order to help their employees feel compensated, many companies facing financial strife had to come up with new and unique ways to assist their employees in the transition and beyond. Many companies were able to pay their employees full wages, even during times of shutdown. Other companies offered to invest further into employee retirement plans, or spelled out promises of economic relief through government assistance designed for struggling businesses.
When financial compensation was out of reach, many businesses turned to alternative ways of caring for their employees. Through helpful and mood-boosting emails or subscriptions to online services like fitness programs or meditation apps, businesses had the opportunity to make moves to take care of their employees in ways they hadn’t previously. Businesses who assumed some responsibility for their employees’ mental and physical health were more likely to take unique measures to keep their workforce happy, well and, therefore, productive.
Working from home is nothing new, but if a company left behind abandoned conference rooms and empty water coolers after shutdowns, they have had to rethink the way their daily functions would take shape. While some companies could function nearly identically to their pre-pandemic schedules, others had to develop entirely new day-to-day functions to stay abreast. Company time was spent in a variety of different ways, even for those who maintained the same or similar work hours.
Through digital connections, many companies found that they were able to work more efficiently as a team within their workday. Meetings held over the internet were notably shorter and more concise without sacrificing productivity. Some employees who began to work from home noticed they were able to complete the same work in a shorter amount of time than they had when working in the office.
On the contrary, some companies were forced to cut hours for many of their employees, and had to scale back work time as a whole. As stores, businesses and firms slowed their operations, the general workforce saw drastic cuts in total work hours. Even if they weren’t occupied with work tasks, employees of all kinds found themselves at home far more often.
With less face-to-face interaction, regular peer-to-peer training took a backseat. Instead, training new employees, or keeping up with retraining current workers, has looked very different. Employees have had more accessible access to various training materials, keeping employees as sharp and on their game as possible.
In-house training videos, socially distanced demonstrations and virtual one on one meetings took the place of prior training methods, and virtual training has its own advantages. Many employees have felt more connected with their virtual mentors, and were able to complete training during times they were at peak focus. Access to on-boarding programs, training videos and mentor contact information allowed workers to brush up on their skills and dive further in depth by referencing back to training material when a question or challenge arose.
A company’s entire team may have been restructured, introducing new task forces or shifting responsibilities from one department to another. Supervisors found themselves reaching out to employees more directly and frequently than before. Many employees saw a change in their job descriptions, both adding and subtracting responsibilities.
The structure of a company evolved to suit the needs of operation during a pandemic, and this required a focus shift, too. Departments previously focused primarily on financial goals had to begin finding ways to connect with their sales teams on a personal level as well as a professional level. As company expectations altered, work responsibilities conformed to the new demands of organization, and new, modified tasks fell on the home office desks of their employees.
Overall, employees saw a great number of positive changes during pandemic employment. Employees reported a greater sense of belonging, honesty, transparency, and involvement within their workplace, and those who adapted with flexibility saw company culture thrive despite its challenges. Such safety and reliability provides an invaluable sense of safety for workers in a world filled with uncertainty.
Publish Date: February 27, 2021 4:59 AM