While the pandemic situation still varies across countries, we are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as vaccination programs ramp up. The world was already moving quickly, but the seismic events of the last 12 months will likely bring some further longer-lasting changes as we look ahead to the next five years. Some of this will be undoubtedly positive, but it will also mean that people need to reflect, adapt, and learn what key behaviors and success criteria will be most important in this reshaped world of work.
We can look at this through three lenses, reflecting on major aspects of work performance which are important for individual and organizational success:
Connecting – how we communicate, gain support, and collaborate with people.
Transforming – how we create change, make decisions, and lead the way for others.
Achieving – how we deliver results, overcome obstacles, and adjust to change effectively.
So, with these lenses in mind, what are the key challenges that people need to think about and be ready to adapt to as we move into the post-pandemic world of work?
Following the dramatic shift to remote working last year, many organizations are now likely to adopt some form of flexible hybrid working on a permanent level. A recent research survey by Microsoft reported that 73% of employees want flexible remote work options to remain. However, at the same time, 67% reported they want more in-person work or collaboration than they have currently. This will create some new challenges in how we connect with others on a human level and build social capital:
With some workforce present in the office and others not, how do I ensure that I am supporting an inclusive climate and involving everyone in the issues that matter to them? How do I ensure I am embracing and harnessing diverse views and perspectives?
Microsoft’s research also found that remote working has led to interactions being more focused on immediate colleagues, while interactions with other departments and wider networks have diminished. So, how can we build and maintain broader networks in a hybrid working model?
With many people likely to continue working remotely, how best do we build trust and collaboration with people we have never met – or very rarely meet – in person?
As we start to look to the post-pandemic future and the longer-term impact on the economy and different sectors, teams and organizations will need to rethink purpose, strategy, and direction, and consider how business models may need to transform. Charting the right course in this complex and uncertain world raises several questions:
With the huge amounts of data and complexity in many areas of work, how can I navigate this effectively, cutting through all the information and data to identify what is important, see the bigger picture, and make the right choices?
With context and conditions changing rapidly, how can I ensure I am working in an agile way, learning quickly, thinking creatively, and identifying new innovations?
For leaders, how do I provide purposeful leadership and chart a strategic direction that is truly fit for purpose in this reshaped world of work, and engages people within the organization?
Read our newly released research report on the changing success criteria in the reshaped world of work.
Digitalization, AI, robotics, and other new technologies were already a major disruptor in the workplace, and research indicates this has accelerated even more as a result of the pandemic. New technology presents fantastic opportunities for increased productivity, enabling better insights, and process optimization. For individuals at work, this provides both opportunity and challenge:
With disruption continuing even as we emerge from the pandemic, how can I maintain a positive attitude despite the uncertainty this brings and focus on maximizing the opportunities that change presents?
How can I ensure I am ready to embrace new technologies in my field of work – what skills do I need to develop and how can I get them? How do I stay on top of emerging developments?
In the last 12 months, many people have faced considerable strain and pressure because of the pandemic, such as redundancy, furlough, health concerns, educating children at home, "Zoom fatigue," and blurring of work-life boundaries. Work will continue to be fluid, fast-moving, and disruptive, so how can I ensure I continue to stay resilient, manage my well-being, and bounce back effectively from the inevitable setbacks that will occur?
In the coming months and years, addressing these challenges and questions will be critically important to help define the key behaviors and mindsets that people will need to be successful in the future. Organizations that think ahead and build this into their talent hiring and development strategies will be well-prepared to succeed and thrive.
Stay tuned for additional resources as PSI works to outline trends, best practices, and tips to ensure that your organization is equipped to navigate this dramatic shift in this reshaped world of work.