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Aisling Wolfe employment, post-covid...

How has COVID changed the workforce?

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After months of uncertainty, we are now emerging from lockdown and facing a new normal.

The world's response to COVID-19 has resulted in an unexpected and rapid transformation of the workplace. New trends such as automation, digitalisation, and innovation have been fast-tracked, and businesses have found themselves at a crossroads. 

The workforce has changed exponentially. Businesses are relying on them to be adaptable and forward-thinking. 

In this article, we look at how the workforce has changed, and what it will take for companies to survive our new normal. 

ADAPTABILITY

Arguably, adaptability has been the most significant skill that almost everyone has had to cultivate over the past few months. Some businesses may have had to adapt their business models to continue to trade through lockdown restrictions. In contrast, others have had to adjust their working spaces to make them safer for employees and customers. Everyone has had to welcome uncertainty to create new ways of working in line with government guidelines to keep everyone safe.

This need for adaptability within the workforce will be crucial as we move forward into unfamiliar territories. 

While our working world continues to evolve, people who are flexible, adaptable and able to bounce back when faced with problems will be a valuable asset to any organisation. 

RAPID RESKILLING

Many companies were prioritising transformation for 2020, as evidenced through new technology such as self-service check-in. But the COVID pandemic has rapidly accelerated the pace of this change. It will now be crucial to teach employees to build a learning mindset. It will prepare them well for dealing with a constant, even sometimes abruptly, changing environment.

The quick adoption of new technology is the central catalyst and is likely to lead to an acceleration in the creation of new roles. Changes in workload during the pandemic have sometimes resulted in an imbalance of resource allocation. Reskilling and upskilling can help employees move from one part of the business to another in a more flexible environment. 

TRUST, & TRANSPARANCY

This period has required everyone to be more supportive of one another, both within our communities and the workplace, as everyone moves through times of uncertainty. In the workplace, there has been an enormous shift from a control mindset to one of trust. People are learning how to do work with far less oversight: they are learning "on the job" what works and what doesn't.

Ironically, amid social distancing, many teams are becoming closer, more cohesive units. Teams are becoming more adaptable and communicative as they work towards a common purpose. 

There will be a need for this increased level of trust and openness to remain in the workplace going forward. Employees need to be able to trust that their employees will provide them with the surroundings and equipment they need to work safely, while employers need to feel that their staff will work with them to guarantee the future success of the business. 

FLEXIBLE WORKING

Business leaders now have, in some sense, been gifted with a better idea of what can and cannot be done outside their companies' traditional processes, and COVID-19 is forcing both the pace and scale of workplace innovation. Many are finding simpler, faster and less expensive ways to operate.

One of these new ways of working is introducing a flexible workforce to the business. 

During these times of uncertainty, it isn't easy to know how many staff members will be needed, and when. Flexible working offers a solution to employers by allowing them to access a bank of staff when they need to increase their workforce and to decrease staff costs when necessary. It also provides them with a team who can offer new, valuable skill sets that are needed moving forward. From the employee's side, it allows more work across various locations, when they are no longer able to guarantee their regular shift patterns from their current or previous employers. 

If you're unsure about what the future holds for your workforce, speak to a member of our team today to learn more about creating a flexible future-proof team.