Lockdown is the new normal
As workers are told to work from home again, office life will never be the same
The Future Strategy Club discusses the importance of embracing flexibility in the work environment
The business world is continuing to change as lockdown restrictions begin to take hold once again across the country. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that workers who can work from home should do so in an attempt to curb the recent surge in Coronavirus cases.
He added that people who are not able to do their jobs from home, such as those employed in the hospitality or construction trades, should continue going into their workplace. This is set to begin a period that, without improvements to the nation's health, could last for six months or so, which would see working Brits through the Christmas period at home.
From looking at the example of countries that are months ahead of the UK in terms of dealing with the pandemic, China is a prominent example. Bejing, for example, shutdown in February, re-opened in early June, went under lockdown again in late June and emerged again in August. The new normal includes mass testing, continued travel restrictions and community lockdowns if outbreaks continue - and this is set to be mirrored in the UK. For countries following the trends set in other parts of the world, this new norm is set to be global, impacting businesses in the UK for the coming months.
To keep pace with the ever-changing advice and new norm, many firms have had to transform their business practices and strategies to adapt to the new normal. Nationally representative research commissioned by The Future Strategy Club (https://futurestrategyclub.com/) across 2,000 UK workers shows that 45% of business leaders think their working environment will change for the better after the pandemic. However, 51% of workers believe that decision-makers in the workplace are out of touch with the processes that allow teams to work effectively and productively.
Justin Small, Founder of The Future Strategy Club (https://futurestrategyclub.com/) - a lean and transparent agency with access to the finest freelancer talent in the UK - discusses the new norm and how businesses can adapt to a future of lockdown work:
"As many return from the office to their home offices and kitchen tables, employers should encourage the more flexible approach that has been taken during lockdown to continue moving forwards. Countries such as China demonstrate what the future of work is looking like and firms need to recognise this now, adapt, and build a strategy that works with the business environment. As long as work is completed and contracted hours fulfilled, having changeable work hours is feasible, and may even boost productivity by keeping employees happy and allowing them to work when they feel most motivated.
Business owners and managers will have faced innumerable challenges over the past few months, as supply chains have been disrupted, trading temporarily ceased and employees had to adapt to working from home. Now is the time when business leaders do not just need advice on how to see their firms through these unprecedented times, but require a hands-on approach. An outside consultant can bring a fresh perspective to struggling businesses, and integrate a new, more flexible ethos to firms who are looking for the best way to accommodate new business models and a more flexible working approach after the lockdown period. Consultants talk to other consultants and these peer-to-peer conversations help to share the knowledge of those experts who have dealt with previous crises, such as the 2008 crash, that now can be applied to help small firms weather this pandemic. "