Employees around the world are experiencing a mix of emotions as offices reopen and workers returning to offices. Others are hesitant to return, while others are eager to return. Others, on the other hand, may experience a perplexing blend of emotions. All of these reactions are acceptable. However, the truth is that we will not be back to “normal.” Work has shifted dramatically. It will alter in the future. The only thing that is definite is that “normal” has vanished.
The working atmosphere of the future will be different in both visible and subtle ways, and we must be prepared for both.
Preparing for the Immediate Changes at Work
Some workplace changes are simple to anticipate and prepare for since we are currently experiencing them in our current situation. For example, we shouldn’t be startled to find signs notifying us of new COVID-19 rules or guidelines—we’ve previously seen them in public areas. We’ll also see fewer folks at the office at the same time. For example, you might be compelled to sit in a specific location and wear a mask while attempting to indicate friendship from a safe distance by raising your eyebrows.
Of course, all of these adjustments and new policies are critical components in ensuring the safety of employees and their families. That doesn’t mean they’ll feel “normal”—far from it—but we’re all going through the same thing.
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Professional Skills Training Can Benefit Everyone
Returning to the office could indicate that things are returning to normal, at least in some ways. We won’t be able to relax and let our guard down until a medical solution to the epidemic is found. As a result, we must return to work with a better understanding of one another. We must show empathy and care for one another. That’s something we aim to remember whenever we create and publish new training, but it’s especially crucial for courses that prepare us to return to work.
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One thing that leaders can do right now to help themselves and their people is to offer skill “refresher” courses or training opportunities that prioritize empathy, caring, and effective communication in how people and teams cooperate in this new environment.
Preparing for Smaller Changes in Ourselves
However, there will be less evident shifts at work that we must plan for. These are the reactions you and your coworkers have had in the months since COVID-19 was released.
Many of us have friends and family members who have lost their jobs. We’ve seen family members struggle to keep their enterprises afloat. Businesses that have closed their doors can now be found in our neighborhoods.
We all have family members or close friends who are important workers who are always at danger on the job—and who take extra care at home to avoid bringing a deadly illness home with them at the end of the day. Some of us may have even lost someone and been unable to accompany them to the hospital.
We’ve also expressed concern and organized or attended protests in response to systematic racism and recent violence amid the ongoing pandemic.
With masks and greater handwashing, we’re not going back to business as normal. Workplaces, like the rest of the world, have changed. It is each and every one of us.
Lives have changed and been lost while we were apart. We’re attempting to maintain our balance in a world that is always moving beneath our feet. We require new norms and procedures, as well as the ability to adapt to ongoing change. But we also require one another. That isn’t going to change.