Breaking with the Past – A Portal to a New World of Work

A portal to a New World of Work – Hello Monday invites you to join the discussion about the New World of Work post COVID.

Recently, the Financial Times published a beautiful article from the Indian author Arundhati Roy, which she closes as: ‘Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.’

COVID-19 will certainly be a turning point in the way we work, live and socialize. Right now we’re still in the eye of the storm, and mostly functioning from a place of disruption and improvisation.

At the same time we don’t know how long this phase will last – and if or when we should start to plan or work on the changes we want to see in the world of work.

Challenges for Leaders

COVID-19 crisis is a challenge of a lifetime to many CEOs, HR and business leaders in general, bringing questions to the table like:

How are we able to take the opportunity of a big crisis as a leadership exercise? Or, in other words, what does it mean to be a leader in a time like this?

Another challenge for leaders, CEOs and HR is that people will look at you as someone to solve problems, to provide guidance, but the truth is that there are no yes/no, black/white answers at this point.

It’s time for leaders to take the responsibility for designing solutions – solutions that will affect up to thousands of people – while no-one yet knows what the future will hold.

The solutions we design will have to be a mix of adjusting to the short-term, but also to work towards a sustainable long-term change to new ways of working.

How can we balance this immediate need to take action or even a defensive posture of short term measures to protect the bottom line and use the opportunity brought by the crisis to make a mark of human support, empathy and purpose?

The Employee Perspective

And then there is the employee perspective.

This crisis, a period of increased anxiety and insecurity, working from home, either being socially isolated or spending suddenly so much more time with their families, has left them thinking about what is truly important in their lives. There expectations towards work, health and family or social life might have changed, along with the shift of their priorities.

As a leader, the question you face is how could you support your employees in this time of transition, offering them a new foundation on which you shape your employer-employee relationship?

If you are looking to re-design your company works and thinks, it is important to engage your employees  in the desired change.

In terms of priorities, many stakeholders will look at companies asking them to take their responsibility to become a more sustainable employer – not only for the continuity of the business, but also for people and planet.

There are a lot challenges and questions for leaders to answer over the next few months.

I think that one silver lining in this bad situation we find ourselves in is that it’s seems to be easier than ever before to admit and talk about uncertainty, anxiety, to say that we are afraid, isolated. This might be a great opportunity to make business more human, truly speaking, for beyond the mission statements of the companies.

Having come from the corporate world myself and knowing so many stories about resistance to change and the difficulty in implementing culture changes, it feels like now change is no longer an option. Even when the pandemic subsides, things will not get back to the past normal.

This means that organizations will have to open up this conversation internally, and include leaders that are not so keen to make changes while others are actively looking to embrace new management paradigms and new ways of working in a changed world.

Join the discussion

We would love to join the discussion and help you shape the conversation internally.

We are releasing a Hello Monday Podcast series over the next weeks in which we will talk about this with business leaders and transformation managers of companies.

Next to that, we have set up a Mastermind Group to help Business and Transformation Leaders to have an open but structured discussion. In this 4-week Mastermind program we explore possible scenarios and co-create solutions, touching on the challenges mentioned above.

The world as we knew it has changed for good, and we are the leaders looked up upon to lead that transformation. Let’s do it all together.

Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash