Whilst social distancing and lockdown have presented many challenges for us all, it may also have created new ways of thinking, working and engaging with our employees and customers too.

I wonder whether the following will ever return to exactly how they were before:

  • Our daily commute
  • Internal communications
  • Customer interactions
  • Our use of technology
  • Caring about each other and our wellbeing

COVID-19 has shifted our priorities towards health and wellbeing both at home and work.  Whether that’s social distancing, checking on people’s mental wellbeing or ensuring there is still a strong team ethos through periods of furlough.  

Even those managers who wouldn’t dream of asking how someone is feeling or how their family is doing, now find it comes more naturally to ask and even share insights into their own world.  I wonder if this will be sustained beyond lockdown and make it easier for some of us be more human at work?

Who hasn’t now seen their colleagues, child, dog, partner or flat mate in the background of a video call?  It feels like we all know each other that little bit better than we did before.

Despite the distance, many companies have ramped up their communications and video chats, both on a formal and social level to stay connected with each other, and it’s proved vital to reducing anxiety, encouraging routine and just keeping each other going through this pandemic. 

Similarly, in our personal lives, many of us seem to be meeting up [virtually], sharing humour and supporting each other more now than we did before.  Whilst I miss the social contact significantly, I can’t help hoping that I’ll keep up some of the efforts I’m making with people that I can usually go months without contacting under the busyness of normal life.

Will this experience allow us to learn the importance of these new extra efforts we are taking to communicate during these times and make them long-term habits both at home and work?  

And how will this change the world of work.  Will it create opportunities or even force us to do things differently?  

  • Will we resent a daily commute a full 5 days a week?; 
  • Will we be in the habit of collaborating digitally?;
  • Will we want to Zoom our customers more?;
  • Will we continue to utilise the technologies and genuinely go paper-light?; and 
  • Will we check-in on how our colleagues are feeling more?

We may not be here by choice and for some people and businesses it will hit harder than others, but I think there is some good learning for those of us that can reflect and start thinking about how we might change our world of work for the better. 

To be better connected, environmentally conscious, to care for and appreciate each other and to evolve the world of work for good before old habits creep in on us!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and any learning you’ll embrace beyond lockdown.