Crisis set to transform way we work
During the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic the number of workers using apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to work remotely shot up by millions.
“The world has never seen such a massive change in the way we work,” said Ayelet Shrem a management consultant at human resources firm Performance Solutions. “Some companies have introduced technology changes in one week, that they had planned to introduce over a period of two years.”
Last Friday Ms Shrem gave a free lounge and learn webinar on how the working world will look after Covid-19. She thinks one of the big changes will be in where we do our work.
“In the future, some employers will say I will let this group work virtually and this group work in the office,” she said.
“Companies will look more closely at who needs to be in the office and who doesn’t. Which interactions need to still be face to face and which don’t have to any more. What is the balance? We need to revisit our traditional processes and see how we can better perform by acknowledging what we have learnt, and how we can make a better workplace for our employees.”
She is a people person and misses the interaction of working with her colleagues in an office setting, but she acknowledges that for some more introverted people, working remotely might suit them better.
“In the future employers will look at things like that,” she said. “We will all know more as we move forward.”
In the past, some companies were reluctant to let their employees work from home fearing they would become distracted or less productive.
“I think that idea comes down to a lack of trust in employees,” she said. “That lack of trust shouldn’t be there.”
Last year a study by productivity firm Airtasker, found that productivity actually increases in people working from home. It found that remote employees work an extra 16 days a year compared to people who work in an office, and accomplish more during those days. People who work at home also tend to exercise more, and save on fuel costs.
Ms Shrem said the companies that will succeed post Covid-19 will be the ones that are able to adapt quickly to a changing business landscape.
“There are some companies that are just sitting there waiting for business to resume as usual,” she said. “Being stuck in the same routine is detaching from the world and what is happening.”
She said after Covid-19 companies will have to constantly monitor if what they are doing is working for themselves, their employees and their clients.
“Companies need to recheck, remonitor and reconfigure to make sure they are staying relevant to their customers, almost on a daily basis,” she said. “People who jump on board with the changes will make the most of it.”
She said there are opportunities in this new landscape, if you look for them. She has experienced this first hand.
Originally from Israel, she moved here two years ago. When she started at Performance Solutions last September she struggled to get to know Bermuda’s human resource community.
“Everyone is just very busy,” Ms Shrem said. “They had their daily agendas and they had their go-to consultants.”
Leading webinars during the crisis, she was able to meet 30 new HR professionals in Bermuda.
“That was a huge thing for me,” she said. “That wouldn’t have happened without the lockdown.”
And that underscores her basic message to her clients: you have to work with what you have.
“If something happens you need to adjust and be agile with life as a whole,” she said. “A lockdown doesn’t have to mean the lockdown of your brain. It allows different things to happen.”
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