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Post-COVID-19, Reimagining The Workplace Part 2: Reimagining And Reconstructing How Work Is Done

Post-COVID-19, Reimagining How Work Is Done 

The unprecedented economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting an estimated four out of five of the world’s workforce of 3.2 billion people, and for many of those, work may never be the same again. 

Countries across the world are making their way towards relaxing COVID-19 lockdowns, a conscientious return to some form of normalcy, and the creation of a new normal. But to adapt to this new normal across industries, organizations will have to reimagine how work gets done, the role of the office or workplace, and of the people who work there. 

How businesses and other organizations handle this transition will define their success and brand for years to come, making it both an opportunity and a risk. 

In the paper I have written for Mythos Group, I explore this transformation of the workplace, and consider the following four key elements.

1. Redesigning the workplace for safety
2. Reimagining and reconstructing how work is done
3. Who do we bring back onsite and when?
4. Rethinking and refining operations

In this article, I want to focus on the second key element.

Reimagining And Reconstructing How Work Is Done

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted organizations across sectors to reassess how work gets done. By examining each process – what is being done, how is it being done, where is it being done, and when is it being done, an organization can make refinements to reduce operating costs and increase efficiencies, while keeping the organizational culture intact. 

Here are a few important things organizations should be thinking about as they reimagine and reconstruct how work is done: 

Digital Transformation: COVID-19 has shown that the future of many businesses is primarily digital. Organizations need to evaluate what on-site manual business processes can be streamlined and automated using digital technologies. Business operations and customer experience can improve significantly by using digital technologies such as big data analysis (BDA), business intelligence (BI), artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things (IoT).  

For example, Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev, is leveraging IoT to create “connected breweries” capable of monitoring the quantity, quality, temperature, and other traits in each batch of brew.

Remote Work: There is little doubt that remote work will become the new norm for many. The April 2020 Gartner CFO survey reveals 74% intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently. Some of the key benefits of remote work are providing employees flexibility, improving productivity, and reducing the carbon footprint (due to reduced travel to and from the office).

Upskilling And New Career Paths: Digital transformation and increased remote work will require organizations to upskill their employees. For example, organizations may have to develop training programs to help employees use digital technologies such as Zoom for video conferencing, Conceptboard for whiteboarding, etc. And organizations will have to redesign career frameworks that enable their employees to leverage their new digital skills to grow and thrive in the new normal. 

Any way you look at it, there is no ‘going back’, only going forward. And while there are undoubtedly risks to getting this reimagining wrong, the opportunity is to reinvent what work looks like, and build a new normal, that is better than what went before. 

Mythos Group’s white paper, Post-COVID-19, Reimagining The Workplace, contains more detail on this and other recommendations, and is available to download for free from Papers.