Management lessons from lockdown
As the economy starts to reopen more and there is more freedom of movement, many companies are faced with a new set of challenges. For more than 18 months most employees have worked from home, companies have had to define what’s essential in terms of being onsite and new technology adoption has grown exponentially. People have become used to the ‘new normal’ of independent remote working, and not everyone is that willing to return to the office full time. What are the management lessons learnt from lockdown that can help create a smoother transition to another new normal as economic activity ramps up?
Many employees are loath to return to an office environment where their every move is watched and tasks are micro managed. Especially considering they’ve worked independently for months. Managers were forced by circumstances to place trust in their teams and this should not be swept aside. Employees have earned that trust, so when asking for flexible working arrangements give them the benefit of the doubt.
Great advances were made in the past year as technologies were adopted to solve the problem of having too many people on site. Virtual Reality and advanced scanning technologies have enabled teams to collaborate remotely and have generated efficiencies. There are many benefits of these technologies that are yet to be realised and it will benefit companies to encourage employees to develop their skills and knowledge further.
Working remotely many employees have realised the benefits of not having to commute to work as well as being able to manage their work time to suit them. In the process they’re found they’re far more productive. Insisting that employees remain at their desks 9-5 is only going to serve to alienate employees. A more progressive approach is to prioritise productivity rather than time spent working. If employees can be more efficient it benefits everyone.
With the current skills shortage, many professionals are well aware that that top talent is in demand. This means that if a current employer has demands that don’t suit them, they’ll very easily find a better position elsewhere. Managers would do well to nurture the talent they have working for them by being empathetic to their needs, otherwise they may face a skills gap that will be hard to fill.
Let’s not forget the lessons we’ve learned in the past year, they may be our best hope for a stronger recovery and future.