Once social distancing measures ease, you’ll find yourself returning to a very different workplace. At first, the rapid transition to work from home was a challenge but now the focus for many has shifted to what the workplace will be like post COVID.
Some will experience roster working hours and days, continuous social distancing will change office layouts such as hot-desking, separated desks and dividers. There will also be fewer in-person meetings with the workplace redesigned to keep people further apart such as meetings and brainstorming sessions over Microsoft teams.
With less in-person interactions it is important to adapt your working style to the new workplace norm.
Create virtual informal social conversations
Begin by working out how you can continue to use virtual tools to stay connected and build rapport with your colleagues. Over the last few months, we’ve all been using a variety of virtual communication platforms to hold meetings and make video calls with our colleagues. However, the days of these Microsoft teams and Zoom meetings are far from over – with work from home and roster working days this means virtual tools will continue
For example, you could invite people to remain for 10 minutes after weekly/daily meetings or join ten minutes early for a casual chat.
Reflect and think out loud
This is especially important if you’re the type of person who works best by sharing ideas/thinking out loud to help with connectedness and also performance. Your meetings could include a set amount of time that focuses on sharing thoughts such as challenges being faced, wins, things that didn’t go to plan or tasks people are working on. Here at Optimum, at the end of our daily team check-ins, we would share with the team our daily successes, things that didn’t go well and/or something we’ve learnt.
Network online and pick up the phone
Social distancing doesn’t affect your ability to socialize but instead, it means that you will need to focus on other ways of networking online and to take every opportunity and make the effort to pick up the phone and talk to colleagues. But, it’s important to be mindful that not everyone will be available to talk on the phone.
It may also help you to use this time to upskill in independent working techniques. Learning how to self-motivate, trust your instincts and individually solve problems without needing to talk through ideas with others are skills that will benefit you long-term in your career. It is also a good time to focus on your technical skills such as Excel, negotiations, business development, etc.
There are many tools and platforms out there (also free) for you to choose from when it comes to upskilling, from podcasts to virtual webinars and reading top business books.
To sum up, work has changed and the way we work has changed. Things probably won’t go back to the way they were before COVID so rather than dwelling on the past, it’s important to make sure that you find new ways that work for you to keep your motivation, energy and output high in the now modified workplace.