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The Workplace Reimagined: How to Improve Productivity in the Next Normal

The Workplace Reimagined: How to Improve Productivity in the Next Normal

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By Lia Ciner

Much has changed in the workplace since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe. From small businesses to massive enterprises, the workplace as we knew it, was closed. During the lockdown period, many companies experienced a fast-forward in their remote work capabilities. 

And now that many countries are easing social-distancing restrictions, organizations must decide how to move forward. Maintaining productivity was a struggle for some, while others were pleasantly surprised at how effective their workforce performed remotely.

There are 2 bottom-line factors for creating your plan for the Next Normal and keeping productivity and employee performance high. 

Invest in company culture

According to Gartner research, one of the main reasons that companies hesitated to institute remote work policies before COVID-19, was the fear that without an office, company culture would disappear. But in reality, many teams felt that they bonded while working remotely. Video calls, better use of digital communication tools, and a stronger sense of freedom while working from home, culminated in a surprisingly positive and productive outcome for most companies that shifted to working remotely or partially from home.

Be creative in finding ways to maintain what makes your company and team culture unique. WalkMe President Rafael Sweary missed the hallway chatter that used to fill the WalkMe office. He wanted to create a digital hallway of sorts, so that the people he “met” with throughout the day, could still “bump into” each other. Instead of creating individual links for each meeting, he decided to have a single “meeting room” link, creating a digital way for employees to see, greet, and connect with one another, on their way in and out of meetings.

Keeping employees engaged is essential for high productivity. Consider the mechanisms that your company uses for organization communication and alignment. If messages are getting buried in employee inboxes, it’s worth considering high productivity solutions like a Digital Adoption Platform. WalkMe’s DAP has a ShoutOuts feature that sends completely customizable messages to employee desktops. These messages appear on top of all open windows and ensure that everyone gets the right message at the right time.

Find the workplace model that suits your team

Not everyone was excited about working in pajamas. Some people found that the lack of separation between work and home, made it harder to be productive. For those individuals, the reopening of offices is a relief. While for others, going back to the office means losing time in a long and stressful commute, expensive childcare fees, and overall return to the office shuffle – which can be less than motivating. So what are some possible solutions for your team or company?

Fully remote opens many new doors

A fully remote workplace model means that the workforce is entirely virtual. This allows the team to forgo office rent and maintenance costs, and also allows for a completely limitless talent pool to choose from. Maintaining high communication, project management, and organizational alignment are all extremely important for a fully remote model and ensuring successful digital adoption can make or break the success of your workforce.

Hybrid remote might mean the best of both worlds

If your team loves the flexibility of working from home, but you see that a complete lack of office is impeding productivity, then a hybrid remote model could be what you need. This model keeps employees at home partially, while creating a partial in-office schedule for the maintenance that some teams need to do in person. For health reasons, bringing your employees back into the office will require careful planning and should be done with caution. But for some teams, it can really increase productivity to have “check-in” days at the office.

Remember that if COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that everything can change, and having a remote strategy and capabilities in place is essential for survival. So even if you’re partially in the office, don’t get too comfortable. Keep your digital processes updated and ready for use at all times.

Take what works and leave the rest behind you

The Next Normal will be an era of agility and courage. Companies that hone in on their values, develop company culture and find a workplace model that empowers their employees, will rise above competitors that are indecisive and stuck in the past.

Don’t underestimate the power of digital preparedness for crisis management, and keep your talent happy, and you can continue to improve productivity as you journey into the Next Normal.

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Lia Ciner
Lia specializes in analyzing and forecasting the development of corporate culture in the digital era. Her experience in both NGOs and high-tech gives her a unique perspective and passion for exploring psychology, global business trends, and how technology is impacting the evolution of our culture.