The future of work post-coronavirus crisis
If you have been following the trending topics that are emerging beyond the new updates on the spread of the pandemic itself, you may have noticed that the conversation is already shifting away from surviving during the lockdown to speculating what the nature of “work” will look like once the crisis has passed.
This is a very interesting conversation because, for perhaps the first time ever, employers in a number of industries may not be entirely in the driver's seat when it comes to dictating the structure of the employee workday.
Certainly in the pre-Covid-19 world, employers did everything they could think of to structure and confine work behaviour, but all of those rules went out the window when entire companies suddenly had to find ways to accomplish tasks from remote locations.
The notion that you would show up by 9am in a suit and tie, sit in one place and work without disruption has quickly been replaced with the acceptance of interruptions from children, dogs barking, and dodgy wi-fi connections.
Yes, you will do your best to join the virtual meeting on time with your report completed, but showing up late or dropping off the call without warning is surprisingly tolerated, for those now sharing their workspace with toddlers or extended family members.
Oddly, those who live alone are suddenly finding that they are being envied by colleagues. And as much as living alone during the crisis has its own set of challenges, it also frees people up to assist their co-workers in some unforeseen ways even though they are working remotely.
Regardless of whether you are flying solo or sheltering in place with a tribe of small children and animals, if you are fortunate to have employment and a calm quiet place to work during this challenging time, you might pause to consider how your colleagues or team members are holding up and check in to see how they are coping with their new work reality.
Begin each conversation with a few minutes of non-work chitchat:
• Do they have the tools and resources that they need to accomplish their assigned task at home?
• Are they getting adequate sleep?
• Do they need a bit of extra personal time to make lunch for the kids?
• Do they need to work different hours because the house is only quite at night?
• Do they need to work split shifts so that their spouse can also use the home computer?
• Can you cover a few of their tasks or assignments while they attend to children at certain times of the day?
• Can you help their kids complete their homework online so they can work on a presentation?
• Can you “babysit online” for an hour by reading stories or playing games with their kids while they complete a report in time to meet a deadline?
• Do they just need another adult to talk to while they take a break to eat lunch?
• Could you organise a Friday evening virtual “happy hour” for your team members?
Some of these ideas seem silly at best, but the point is simple — there probably is a way that you can help if you take the time to find out what it is. “Be the change that you want to see in the world”, and we'll get through this together.
• Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at olderhoodgroup.com, 538-8937 or firstname.lastname@example.org