Practical guidance for organisational and employee development.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly shifted the working world as we know it altogether. With the office environment now turning increasingly more obsolete, and the immense focus on cybersecurity and crisis management measures to support organisations during this time, has paved the way for novel priorities in the workplace adopted on a global scale.
Specifically, leaders and employers alike had to re-shift their workplace objectives to meet with enterprise agility, cost management, resiliency, and innovative tactics to pull through uncertain times. Nevertheless, not every organisation could have relied on these for support. Many companies couldn’t turn their workforce into a remote one, leaving the notion of workplace continuity more ambiguous. The following article will present the challenges businesses face during Covid-19 alongside practical recommendations in determining a positive way forward, namely through digital transformation.
Working with, not Against, your Business
There are a few measures various organisations can adapt to ensure business continuity without completely restructuring. These include:
Have a dedicated team to handle crisis management: as Covid-19 has brought about numerous hassles regarding in-office and remote jobs, a dedicated team can help reduce the negative consequences granted by the pandemic. A crisis management team will help prevent further issues whilst producing novel plans in moving forward. They will also serve as the main point of contact for any personnel looking for support.
Prioritise health and safety measures: as the Covid-19 pandemic is a great health concern for many employees, organisations must have some regulations in place to protect the workforce and minimise any risks of infection. Whilst the health risks depend on the organisation and what is available to them, employees who do have more physical contact than others can have their health status regularly monitored. For others, social distancing measures, and other governmental recommendations can be followed.
Employ upskilling where needed: it’s very possible that an employee who plays an important role in the organisation falls ill and would require a leave of absence that necessitates another individual to take over their job. Replacing talent altogether can prove costly and time-consuming. Rather, organisations can focus their plans to provide training initiatives to surrounding employees and prepare them to take on further responsibilities in their jobs in Malta or elsewhere should they need to.
Organise meetings by teams: many businesses comprise numerous teams and departments, whereby groups form to work on similar objectives. Some organisations can have a team filled with a large group, and these can be further divided until distancing measures relax. The ideal scenario would be to prioritise remote jobs first, although this is not always possible. These smaller teams can work in the office on different days, avoiding large clusters of workers at once.
Provide flexible arrangements: perhaps one of the greater shifts of the pandemic, where possible organisations should prioritise and rethink their flexible work policies. Remote work is the best way in minimising infection spread via the office environment. Keep in mind that the workplace is not the only area in one’s life that has been negatively affected by the pandemic, such as school closures leaving working parents an added responsibility as well. Consider flexible arrangements that support these changes and accommodates where needed.
Whilst the above provides clear instruction into ways businesses can minimise the negative impact offered by Covid-19, none of these can work without effective communication. As these times have proven challenging for many employees, leaders must keep employees up to date with the latest workplace developments and amending policies. More than ever, employees require support from many workplace aspects, urging leaders to speak with and understand what the workforce needs today.
The Increase of Digital Transformation
Whilst the inevitability of digital transformation has been on the horizon before the pandemic began, its wave swept away a slow progression towards its integration as Covid-19 rapidly appeared. Adapting everyday business operations that favour digital mediums is no longer an option in many industries, amending the working world to support a largely technological model. One IBM (2021) report surveyed organisations whereby 59% believed Covid-19 to have accelerated the importance of digital transformation. Whilst this technological introduction is largely welcomed, it comes with its own challenges too.
Namely, not everyone in the workforce is readily equipped to use novel technologies and software tools. Whilst this barrier can become quickly overturned by organisational training developments, it’s not risky enough to hold off on employing digital transformation overall. Many individuals, contrarily, are able to quickly adapt toward new technologies and implement these in their usual processes. Indeed, the organisations that were once hesitant to integrate technology to their business models are now reaping its benefits on a global scale.
There are numerous ways organisations can continue to embrace digital transformation to improve its business model in the future. Some examples in transforming IT, banking, and other jobs in Malta and beyond include:
Improved customer experiences through the use of mobile applications and chatbots,
Automation to engage in otherwise mundane and tedious tasks, so employees can focus on creative and complex situations,
Improved services through AI technologies such as IoT and machine learning to leverage better performance, and
Regular digital enhancements to update business models following novel technologies that can better meet business goals and employee needs.
It’s true that organisations have transformed their daily operations to meet technological and international demands. It’s difficult for companies to remove these new integrations once the Covid-19 pandemic remits. It’s more likely that businesses on a global scale will continue to implement technologies as individuals grow more trusting of its assistive capabilities.
Upskilling and Reskilling
Albeit the capability of technology is impressive, there is still immense need for human intervention to curate creative solutions for complex workplace decision-making. The drastic changes taken to amend business operations to support technologies and other crisis management initiatives have left employees their own need to adapt to these. For some, this is a seamless development, but for many others, further training is needed to support their professional development alongside organisational changes.
Organisations must implement opportunities for lifelong learning and growth that accommodates in-office or remote jobs over time. It’s an important consideration to tackle as it ensures equal career opportunities between employees who can upkeep with organisational developments. There is also more to upskilling than providing development initiatives, whereby employees should feel supported throughout. Nowadays, many organisations with the available resources are implementing e-learning platforms, as one main initiative to ensure training for employees is accessible.
Whilst the future of work will continue to change over time, sometimes more drastically than others, organisations mustn’t solely focus their priorities on structural amendments but also ensure the workforce itself is supported. In order for an organisation to be successful in uncertain times, both structural elements and internal developments should work in tandem to meet the same short- and long-term goals.
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