How to Maximize Opportunity in the ‘New’ Work-life
As you return and slowly acclimate yourself to the post-COVID-19 office, there will definitely be a need to reassess how to manage to sync with the ‘new workplace’. Things are different yet familiar; scary yet a bit exciting; everything is still what it is but the context is totally different. In the midst of all this thought, what remains true—is that the office is still around. It has withstood the harsh test of COVID-19 and is still the place where you will flourish and thrive. Albeit with slightly different rules of engagement for a while, for the time being, of course.
So let’s talk about it.
Mc Kinsey was quoted as saying: “As businesses step into the post-coronavirus future, they need to find a balance between what worked before and what needs to happen to succeed in the next normal.” This of course, applies directly to the employees too. To strike the perfect balancing act, with respect to your work-life in the ‘new normal’—what will rule is a mixture of what used to—and what will work.
The purveyor in this case, is still the same. You. Whether you are an employee or employer—the opportunity is, as always, to grow, evolve and create within the shared walls of the collective workplace. There are still limitations for the time being, but now is the perfect time for some smart decisions, creative thinking, and the drive to capitalize on this period.
How? Let us explore.
Of course, ‘adaptability’ was always passed around as a leitmotif, even in the pre-COVID-19 era. Now, it has added meaning and texture. You may be a driven individual who always seeks new skills and absorbs information from people—but now there are boundaries everywhere. That, in no way, means that the show should stop. In fact, if you value communication, this is the perfect time to adapt yourself to your surroundings.
Been sceptical about technology? Now it is time to jump over that hurdle. Thought apps like Slack, Whatsapp, Zoom, etc. were always a bit out of reach? They do not have to be anymore. Embrace them with open arms (and an open mind). You might find a place for them in your current work-life. Were you always on the fence about certain specific design elements or spaces? Now, they may be the ideal ones that suit your situation. Keep an open mind and try adjusting to the changes. You might find them to be extremely beneficial. Did you feel limited in information before? Take this period as an initiative to reach out to people whom you did not before. Always wanted to pitch a new idea but lacked confidence? No better time than now. Felt any communication gaps before? No better time than now.
Make sure this is not a period of latency, but of forward momentum.
The workforce is ‘distributed’ at the moment—so you might not have access to your favorite colleague(s). Your daily workflow and social interaction schedule are probably not the same. Maybe you cannot pace yourself to be the best you as well as you could before. However, even with these limitations in mind—you can always make hay when the sun shines. It would be a great idea to look outside the box and see how well this setup suits you. Build a routine around it. Maybe the ‘new office’ lets you do things in a way that was not possible previously.
Maybe the new scheduling actually suits your daily routine. You can even organize your daily life in the office in such a way that leads you to discover new things about productivity and creativity. You can find spots that boost your productivity; find spots that make you feel good about yourself; find the ideal place to make the all-important client calls—and the equally important personal ones. Do what you can to get attuned and in-sync with your new workplace.
Schedules are hectic by tradition. As of now, however, there exists some time and space to think about them a bit. If you have felt this skill was something in particular, that you have always lacked—the time is now to improve it.
Unify with your Organization
Despite batting through rough waters, you are still (luckily) part of the same organization you have proudly considered your second home for many years. The time is now to re-evaluate your place in it, and what it means to you (and vice versa). Things are different, and a lot of challenges lie ahead. Hence, it is great for both parties to strengthen their relationship with each other. The bond, now more so than ever, needs to be stronger.
Go deeper than ever before. Seek out new and available opportunities. Be self-motivated and incentivize to explore new challenges. Not necessarily for the expectation of any rewards, but to strengthen the mutual relationship—and enhance your sense of organizational pride and identity. Take the time to go even deeper into the organization’s values, mission, and vision. Learn in deeper ways, what it is—and what it stands for.
An inner connection with the organization’s mission and values is only going to play its part in helping you grow as a person. Don’t hesitate to seize this opportunity.
Rajul Mathur, from Willis Towers Watson, in his blog for peoplematters, described the post-COVID-19 way of work as pushing more towards ‘work-life integration’ for employees; demoting the importance of simply ‘work culture’ as a term. This points towards the trend of employees being more active participants in their work-life than ever. An encouraging sign for sure, and indicative of workplaces thriving once again with the usual hustle-and-bustle—where all is said and done.
In the meantime, there is every reason for smart, driven employees to turn limitations into incentives and figure out a way to keep the ship sailing at full speed--circumstances be damned. It is time for you to become one, embrace this trend and emerge.
Related read: Why Coming to Office Is Essential for You
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