You’ve probably read dozens of articles about the future of work in the past few months.
Most of them focus on the ‘new normal’ – a seamless mix of office and home working that requires new technology, revamped operations and a fresh mindset. Heck, I’ve even written one or two myself.
But nothing brought home to me our strange new world more clearly than a conversation with a former colleague last night.
We were catching up on work friends and acquaintances, as you do. In passing I asked him how things were going with the new hire he mentioned the last time we spoke.
“She was good, but she took another role after a couple of months.”
Nothing much to see right? This happens all the time in small businesses, especially with younger employees.
But it was what he said next that made my jaw hit the ground.
“It was a shame as well, because I never got to meet her.”
Boom. So, in the space of three months they’d been through the hiring process, onboarding, probation and exit interview, all via video calls.
None of the adrenalin of a first day in the office. No face-to-face meetings, handshakes or farewell drinks to speak of.
Welcome to the new normal indeed.
The follow up also left me reeling. “Did she say why she left?”
“Yeah, she was looking for somewhere more lively, more dynamic. She was bored, if I’m honest.”
And there, in a nutshell, is one of the biggest new challenges facing business today.
It doesn’t matter how many ping-pong tables, Friday cocktails or in-office massages you used to offer.
In the aftermath of the pandemic you will have to rethink your retention policies completely – which used to include home working of course.
I’ve heard of businesses, including Google, offering employees $1000 to upgrade their home office. The search giant is also offering virtual meditation and mindfulness online.
But all this sounds like sticking plaster to me, patching up a problem in hindsight rather than offering an exciting vision of the workplace – and the healthy employee.
My worry is that we’re going to see enormous churn in the coming months: Massive staff lay-offs for a short-term financial fix, without investing in the tech, talent and training to retain and rebuild the workforce.
In other words, the way you behave in the second half of this year will define your business for the rest of the decade and beyond.
An intelligent, swift rethink of your employee engagement strategy won’t just save your reputation it will save your business, and your workforce.
That’s where we can help. In the past few years, DLA has helped dozens of businesses to flourish in our digitally transformed world.
And all of them are now more resilient and better equipped to emerge, successfully, from the other side of the pandemic.
If you want to find out how your business can escape from the current crisis, fit enough to face the future, get in touch today.
Tell me about Google's decision to offer $1,000 to employees to equip their home offices. For us to be able to provide resources for Googlers to set up the most productive workstation at home so that they have an opportunity to separate 'When I am in this space I am focused on my work and I am focused on these things, and when I step away from this space I am able to detach from work, I am able to connect with my family, my friends, my pets, the people in my community outside of this work box' is really important... ...That is really critical for us long term, as well as from a health perspective -- making sure that we have the best opportunity for ergonomically correct chairs, eye-line for monitors and those sorts of opportunities as well.