Revolutionize Post-Pandemic Workplace: Inclusion and Engagement Strategies
Use technology as a tool to support collaboration and connection rather than to replace face-to-face interactions - Norman
By: Melissa Norman, Founder and Managing Director of Aisling Group
The global pandemic has forever changed the way we work, leading to a redefinition of the employee experience (EX). Companies now must find new ways to foster a sense of inclusion and engagement in their workforce, while managing the new normal of remote work.
The challenge lies in creating an EX that is engaging and enriching even when employees are no longer physically in the office. This can be achieved through the thoughtful implementation of strategies that prioritise employee needs and well-being, support collaboration and connection, and foster an environment of trust and openness. By taking proactive steps to redefine EX in the post-pandemic workplace, organisations can ensure that their employees feel included and engaged while they work virtually.
The Impact of the Pandemic on EX
The pandemic is one of the most devastating global health events in history. Once seen as a distant but plausible possibility, it brought 9/11-scale chaos and disruption to the daily lives of millions of people. As a result of this unprecedented global health crisis, the global workplace has been profoundly altered. In its wake, the post-pandemic period has been a time of reflection and realignment for organisations, as they rethink how they work and how their people work. Faced with the challenge of managing an ever-changing workforce that is increasingly remote, several organisations have ushered in new ways of working; the most significant of which is the integration of virtual work with remote work. The post-pandemic workplace is one in which employees can work remotely more often and, on more projects, while also getting the benefits of being physically present in the office — including benefits such as better career prospects and higher pay.
Strategies for Redefining EX
Let go of the expectations of what employees should be doing and replace them with what they want to be doing. Leverage the opportunity to create a more inclusive and engaging work experience. Use technology as a tool to support collaboration and connection rather than to replace face-to-face interactions. Foster an environment of trust and openness by being transparent and open with employees about what they want from their work and being open to listening to those ideas.
a. Prioritising Employee Needs and Well-being
The increased focus on remote work has brought with it the potential for new challenges, such as an increase in the burnout and stress levels of employees working remotely. The need for increased resilience and resources in the face of increased stress levels is a common challenge facing the post-pandemic workplace. Organisations can address this challenge by prioritising the needs and well-being of remote employees. To do so, organisations must understand their employees better, be proactive about supporting well-being, and be transparent about their expectations.
b. Supporting Collaboration and Connection
As virtual work becomes more common, the need for collaboration will also increase. Collaboration between remote and in-office employees will become even more important to ensure successful projects and results. To ensure that remote and in-office employees are collaborating effectively, organisations can look to integrate a range of remote communication and collaboration tools. These tools enable remote and in-office teams to work together more easily, including desktop sharing, video conferencing, and chat applications.
c. Fostering an Environment of Trust and Openness
When employees work remotely, they often find themselves disconnected from their colleagues in the office.
To address this challenge, organisations can foster an environment of trust and openness by being transparent about what remote work looks like and what employees’ expectations are, and by being open to listening to those ideas.
This could take the form of a feedback round or a facilitated discussion about what employees want from their work.
Examples of Companies Redefining EX
A common way for companies to redefine the experience for employees is to wrap the perks of remote work in an appealing narrative.
a. Beetham Media, a digital marketing agency based in Canada, rebranded itself as “The Ultimate Work Experience” to appeal to the millennial generation. It transformed itself from a traditional workplace to a brand-new recreational space, complete with a climbing wall and a pool.
b. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the global pandemic, the NHS, the publicly funded healthcare system in England, has transformed into a model healthcare system. With over 30 million people affected by the pandemic to manage, the system has been completely transformed. The post-pandemic workplace has given rise to a whole new model of healthcare delivery and management.
As organisations look to redefine the experience for their employees, they can draw inspiration from these examples.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The post-pandemic workplace has dramatically reshaped the way organisations work and the way employees work. In the face of an unprecedented challenge, many have responded by implementing new ways to work remotely or by incorporating virtual work. The challenge now lies in ensuring that these new ways of working are engaging and enriching for employees and that they are aware of how to best navigate this new environment.