2020 Brought Massive Change
2020 has been off to an eventful start, to say the least. Early this year, the coronavirus broke out and put most of the globe at a standstill. The virus disrupted routines and forced everyone to adopt new, distant protocols. By the halfway point, social unrest erupted worldwide calling for reform and bringing diversity and inclusion to the forefront of concern. With such challenges arising, there is a possibility that these events can produce lasting change. Here are some ways that workplaces can change for the better following these unprecedented events.
A strong foundation rooted in trust is crucial to a team’s morale, productivity, and collaboration. COVID has put this to the test, especially in the face of new remote work policies. And yet, employees have been more productive during the pandemic, demonstrating that when management and leadership trust employees, they will honor that trust. It’s hard to say what the working landscape will be like post-pandemic, but it’s not unlikely that many employees will demand greater flexibility in work hours and location.
Trust goes both ways: not only do employers need to trust their employees, but the employees also need to trust the company. With calls for reform, many companies have pledged to make permanent changes, and in order to keep the workforce’s trust, they must follow through with their proposed strategies.
The combination of unprecedented events has undoubtedly taken a toll on the mental and emotional health of many American workers: the virus seems incurable, unemployment is at a record high, protests continue daily, and the global economy is still unstable. With at least one-third of U.S. employees reported experiencing symptoms of depression during this time, more than half of employers have recognized these struggles and are refining their mental health benefits.
This isn’t the only change happening; there are also changes happening on the cultural level. Employees themselves have become more connected now that work and home lives are mixed. In short, employees are acting with more humanity. Whether this will continue by the time offices reopen remains to be seen, but there are numerous benefits to maintaining this practice of empathy post-pandemic. Empathy can improve employee retention and even lead to business success. For empathy to spread throughout the entire organization, managers and leaders must take the lead by practicing deliberate empathetic leadership.