In this three-part article series, we discuss the essential qualities businesses must have when transitioning to a new way of working.
2020 and the COVID-19 crisis changed the way businesses operate. The 'new normal' has meant Japanese business leaders are learning to embrace untraditional ways of working to keep their employees safe and companies viable.
In the first and second articles of this three-part series, I discussed essential qualities in the post COVID era of work, including being results-oriented and functioning with autonomy.
Focusing on an employee's output instead of the steps to achieve an outcome makes it easier for business leaders to embrace work outside of a physical office. This result-oriented mindset means companies can continue to be productive, even during a global pandemic.
Often businesses that have a results-oriented mindset also include more autonomy in their operations. Those who already practiced autonomy would have found it easier to transition to remote work during the crisis.
Autonomy adds value by defining clear expectations for employees and allowing them to meet goals with more independence. This is good for business productivity as employees can operate without constant approvals. It's also good for employee morale because there is an insinuated trust between the team.
The final, essential quality for transitioning into a new way of working is transparency. Transparent communication facilitates a results-oriented mindset and autonomy within a business.
However, the communication must be two-way from top-down and from bottom-up.
Business leaders at the top of the business must be communicating ideas like Why are certain decisions being made? What is the direction of the company? Without transparent communication from the top, the team won't understand how their goals contribute to the entire organization's direction.
Employees also need to report to business leaders about what is working for them and what isn't within the company. Essentially, What does the team want to be happy? If an organization does not have a mechanism to get employee feedback, the leadership team will not be able to provide the tools and environment to work effectively.
At Randstad, we assumed that the team would flock back in droves once we opened the office up. When they didn't, we released a survey to gather feedback. The survey revealed that 80% of the team preferred a hybrid work environment, which allowed them to choose where they wanted to work based on the task. 10% of those surveyed said they wanted to work from home as their primary work environment, perhaps rarely coming to the office. Hearing this feedback led us to re-evaluate our thoughts.
We now look at work as a thing we do and not the place we are. As a company, we are not attached to the physical work environment.
The challenge is balancing the desire of employees to work from home, with the need for increased productivity levels so companies can fight their way back to pre-COVID levels of productivity and profitability.
However, embracing qualities like a result-oriented mindset, autonomy, and transparency can help business leaders motivate employees and navigate this new way of working.
Randstad Professionals & Engineers