A “New” Normal: Fact or Fiction

08/24/2020 by Chris Tury

We have all read how work will never be the same after COVID-19. Kitchen tables have replaced conference rooms. Our pets replaced colleagues as employee of the month. Break room coffee replaced with our boutique coffee beans from a local roaster. The “new” normal is great! Right?

Five months into the pandemic, organizations are assessing if there is a “new” normal. Leadership teams are realizing how their workforces can in fact function remotely. We’ve seen this play out with companies making remote work permanent such as Twitter. Leaders are also seeing the savings potential of leaning into remote work. Specialty Outdoor retailer REI has put their newly built headquarters up for sale before even moving in.

Not everyone is feeling so great about a long-term shift to remote workforces. Companies are beginning to see decreased productivity, less collaboration, and longer deadlines to complete projects. The honeymoon phase of remote working during the pandemic is over. Employees have now settled in, and some are realizing this “new” normal is not so shiny anymore.

So, is there a “new” normal? Yes and no. This is the obvious answer, right?

It’s undeniable effects of the pandemic will shape us individually and our view of work. However, we are creatures of habit. The routines and rhythms of work pre-pandemic will make their way back into our lives. We will have to wait and see what of this “new” normal actually becomes permanent and what aspects of work return to how they once were.

What is a “new” normal is an increased importance for HR’s role in the workplace. From remote work policies to training on effectively leading remote teams, HR plays a vital part in navigating the future of work – however that may look. The new norms which emerge post-pandemic may require training or assimilation coaching to get your people accustomed to the “new” normal. Leaders will have to balance on-site and remote teams and understand how to motivate both. You may be faced with employees not wanting to physically return to work at all. Whatever the challenges may be, HR plays a critical role in steering through more change and uncertainty.

The future of work is changing rapidly with the world we live in. The “new” normal is still uncertain as the pandemic continues on. The certainty we do know is how HR will be critical in keeping your people engaged and ready for the direction you sail in after COVID-19.

Is Your Organization Ready To Navigate The Future Of Work?

The workplace is changing at a rapid rate. At McKee-Burke, we help organizations manage the changing world of work to keep their workforces engaged and productive. We’d love to speak with you about any challenges you are facing within your workforce.