Post-Covid productivity is more important than days in office


THE Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in one of the biggest shifts in work practices ever.

hat started as a forced experiment, has given organizations the opportunity to rethink how and where work gets done, and the changes they introduce will endure.

The danger for managers and teams is that the immediate focus on how many days per week or month are spent in the office ignores the larger need that is to define how teams will drive productivity in the future, and the core for the identification and development of the largest is suitable employee model.

Many companies have considered the role of the office and the number of days employees may need to be physically present.

However, one question business leaders should ask themselves is, “How will our hybrid model work for our teams, employees and customers?”

Managers need to ensure that flexibility and employee well-being are at the heart of improving performance.

At least one in three employees was working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With research showing that a large proportion of employees prefer a hybrid work model, companies must now turn their attention to the challenges and opportunities that such a model can bring when it comes to supporting future growth.

These key challenges include:

Embed new behaviors and ways of working

Designing and implementing new behaviors and work practices that support flexible and hybrid working will be central to improving team performance. However, in a hybrid environment, it can be more complex to define and implement how work gets done, when, and by whom.

According to research by PwC, around half of executives cited workplace behavior and culture as a priority to improve companies’ competitiveness.

communication and engagement

Communication and employee engagement initiatives become more complex with some employees present in the office and others working outside of the traditional office space.

Research from PwC found that 31 percent of executives acknowledged the importance of employee engagement and communication as part of their people strategy and its impact on competitiveness.

Using technology to bridge the gap between employees who are physically present and those who work remotely can be part of a solution.

Upskilling and skill building

Building new skills and adaptability of employees is a priority for business leaders. Research from PwC shows that one in three executives sees training as a strategic focus to increase organizational competitiveness.

As organizations continue to increase headcount and adjust their work habits, the delivery of training will be an important factor for team managers. However, hybrid working poses significant challenges to the traditional face-to-face approach to employee development and training.

Key actions companies can take now:

Implement the digital tools that increase performance

By investing in digital tools that support your hybrid work model, leaders can address key challenges. Digital tools should facilitate cross-team and cross-team communication, be fast and flexible, and provide managers and team members with real-time data about their work key performance indicator.

Research from PwC shows that nearly half of executives will increase their investment in digital transformation by more than 10 percent over the next three years.

Improve internal communication

While communication is a priority for employees and management alike, both top-down and company-wide communication must be clear, concise, and continuous.

This approach will foster a culture of adaptability and trust.

Go new ways from work

With dispersed team members, business leaders may need to implement new ways of working to improve team performance. Relying on what worked for a purely traditional or remote work model will not be as effective in a hybrid work environment.

Focus on establishing clear roles and responsibilities to ensure smooth operational transitions between team members and teams. Let metrics guide you and enable decision-making to be based on metrics that matter to the organization. Finally, drive new behaviors that align with the team’s overall values.

Train leaders at all levels to manage a hybrid workforce

Managers need to adapt their skills to lead employees both in person and digitally.

Creating a dynamic that works in a hybrid environment increases pressure on management to balance the need for task-centric outcomes with employee happiness and well-being.

PwC research tells us that leadership and talent development is a priority for business leaders, with one in four planning to significantly increase their long-term investment in talent development as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

Streamline processes and incorporate a proactive approach to change

As working models change and adapt, now is the time to review existing processes and assess whether they are still “fit for purpose”.

Work with your teams to analyze current practices and eliminate non-value-added activities so you can work more agile and lean together. Leaders should strive to foster a proactive view of change that will positively impact team performance.

David Keane is a Director of PwC People & Organisation. Post-Covid productivity is more important than days in office

Fry Electronics Team

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