For years, many industries, especially tech firms, have experimented with remote work practices for their employees.
Yet, despite the potential benefits (including reduced office space costs and a better work-life balance for employees), many businesses lagged behind. They simply weren’t ready to do things differently.
Then the pandemic hit and everything changed.
COVID-19 forced every non-essential business leader to reconsider how they could move forward without meeting face to face. Slowly, they began developing tools, systems, and resources that allowed their team members to address client concerns, maintain a workflow, and collaborate with others, all from a remote location.
In the weeks that followed the first major wave of lockdown due to COVID-19, newly adapted remote work practices kicked off an interesting question for many companies: is this something we could do beyond COVID?
Often, the greatest challenges teach us the most valuable lessons. A global pandemic has not been easy on anyone, but leaders who see it as an opportunity to learn will emerge from these times with a stronger organization.
COVID-Inspired Practices Worth Keeping
The capacity for remote work might be one of the most obvious lessons from COVID-19, but it’s certainly not the only one. We’ve learned to be better listeners, more empathetic team members, and more efficient organizations.
Here are eight examples of pandemic-driven practices that we plan to implement long after our masks come off.
1. Maintain Adaptive Environments
The needs of your organization and your clients are not set in stone. They’re dependent on a wide range of factors, many of which are out of your control.
Practice being quick, flexible, responsive, and innovative. When things get rocky, you’ll be one step ahead of the game. And when things are smooth, you’ll be moving faster than anyone.
2. Extend Abundant Grace
No one got a list of instructions when the pandemic took off. Organizations that succeeded trusted each other to move forward united, even though they couldn’t be together.
This is the core belief of abundant grace: that you should expect the best of others, forgive mistakes, and find ways to demonstrate the values that define you as an organization.
3. Truly Listen
In challenging times, sometimes the greatest resource you can offer someone is simply to listen to their concerns, their frustrations, and their fears.
Throughout the pandemic, we adopted the role of the listener for many of our clients. It’s a practice that allowed us to offer the support they needed with much greater clarity.
4. Streamline Systems
Dynamic environments that demand quick decisions and fast responses do not pair well with clunky systems and inefficient processes. Reflect on things that allowed your teams to move faster during COVID and integrate them into future, more streamlined systems.
5. Commit to positive relationships
The people you work with are the most important resource you have. When you focus on building positive relationships, you’re making a major investment in your company culture so that when challenging times do come, you can rely on those relationships to carry you and your teams forward.
6. Collaborate Within Your Industry
We often think of other people in our industry as competitors, but in reality, few people understand us as well. That intimacy affords a unique opportunity to connect.
For example, one of our leaders, Tammy Canavan, let us know about weekly meetings she held with other leaders in the travel industry. It offered a chance for them to discuss similar challenges they were facing during the pandemic and support each other, a perfect example of extending abundant grace, even beyond the walls of your organization.
7. Foster Flexible Work
Flexible work-from-home policies are major benefits for prospective employees and offer a way to significantly improve retention. Plus, it can help reduce overhead on office space. Even allowing team members to work from home two days a week can save them 100 days of commuting a year.
8. Invest in Your Culture
Streamlined systems that serve, positive relationships, and abundant grace are all critical parts of developing an exceptional work culture.
We believe there’s a reason FiredUp! Culture didn’t lose a single client during the pandemic. For businesses that want to thrive, a commitment to culture isn’t optional. It’s everything.
Going back to work after COVID isn’t going to be easy but with these practices in place, a new normal may be just what’s needed for a major boost to team member morale.
Mark your return to normal with a transformation of your internal culture. Start doing the work of changing your company culture for the better by downloading our free workbook.
Author, Speaker, and Change Agent.
Chris leads a dynamic team of passionate change agents who are dedicated to partnering with organizational executives to create cultures that inspire, engage and ignite the best in people. Our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams and align operation practices to delighting the customer and drive breakthrough results.