- Leaders across the globe discuss learnings from CV19
- Speculating at the post-covid trends we are likely to see
- Advice and analysis on how to behave as we re-emerge
Over the last few months we have seen the way we work change dramatically, and as employers look to adapt their businesses to the ‘new normal’, work will not look like it did at the start of 2020.
In these unprecedented times senior leaders tell us what they think about the trends that have emerged during this time, and which ones they think are here to stay.
Bringing the human factor
Sarah Morris, Group Chief People Officer, Compass Group says: “I very much hope and now believe, because I think it’s been long enough to become a habit, that part of the future workforce will include people being much more aware and accepting of colleague’s whole lives. On virtual calls for example, I’ve had children, dogs, all sorts of things going on. It’s all part of life and I think it has brought a human factor to work that I very much hope we don’t lose. There’s lots of research about how long things need to take place before they become a habit, and I hope we don’t all go back to a sterile environment and pretend that this is just all we do all day long.”
All in it together
Jeri Ballard, Executive Vice President, Real Estate, Shell agrees, saying: “It would be great if we could stay more human and remain more understanding, as we’ve seen with other times our company has tackled any sort of a crisis, it’s been a bonding experience for the people who have been part of it. I do think that there is really a strong sense that we’re all in it together and I do hope that we can keep that going forward even further.”
Humans and Technology working in tandem
COVID-19 highlights the synergy between humans and technology, Dimple Agarwal, Deputy CEO and Managing Partner for People, Deloitte says: “One is that I think it has taught us that humans and technology are very interdependent. While technology is a key enabler you cannot really do a lot of things without humans, both need to work in tandem.”
Being kinder to each other and the planet
Agarwal continues: “Another is one that I am delighted by. This is the way purpose and values have become so front and centre of how organisations think and make decisions, what impact they have on society, about being kinder to each other and taking care of each other. It has been really inspiring to see that and I hope we do not lose it. I also really hope we have learned about looking after the planet in a more balanced way, with less travel and I hope we won’t go back to the way things were.”
Flexible working and defining the balance
Flexible working has also been a prominent theme throughout, Ballard adds: “I think that the future of work will be more flexible by definition, it will be less rigid, but we just have to define what the handrails are for that because it can’t be that we’re just all free range chickens. There have to be some guidelines to go with it because people still need to come together and you have to figure out how to balance this need with giving people more flexibility, so I think the two can go together in harmony.”
Agility and Trust
Michiel Bakker, Director, Global Workplace Services Programs, Google adds: “I hope it will be about maintaining the agility that all of us have shown that we have, because if you go back to where we were in January, many of us had strong convictions that we would never do this. I think we’ve proven that we are significantly more flexible than all of us ever imagined.
“The second is to be principles driven and allow people at the different sites around the world to make the decisions based on principles. I think we’ve all learned that when you lead global organisations, to think that you can ultimately steer the organisation out of one place without understanding the local conditions won’t work, as the world is coming back at very different paces in very different circumstances. While bringing everybody home was more or less the same for everybody with some variation, bringing people back is going to require a very customised localised approach. I think that needs to be done based on global principles – wellbeing, safety, whatever that may be, but trusting that your local teams will know what is best, so for me it’s ultimately about agility and trust.”