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Best practices for the (post) coronavirus world.

In Europe we see restrictions easing as the medical impact of the coronavirus on society is slowly lessening. Good news! Now we are looking to the future again, determining how to navigate the post-coronavirus world.

We recently held our second roundtable and asked our participating clients: What do you see as success factors for your organisations moving forward? Our first round table provided insights on direct measures taken at the start of the crisis, this round table examined how organisations can thrive in the ‘new’ world we live in.

Who was there:

Ralf van Rozendaal - Manager programmabureau Huisvesting - De Nederlandsche Bank Emily Weimar - HR Manager IT - Friesland Campina Rene de Vos - Business Development Manager - BAM FM Stefanie Colnot - Eigenaar - Facet Marketeers Martijn Schreuder Goedheijt - Partner - Ink Strategy Alexander Steenhorst - Strategy Design Consultant - Ink Strategy

Here are a few of our most notable insights:

Organise the accidental to step outside of your silo

For many of us, working from home has also meant deepening the silos we’re in. We plan our days within the context of our work, with the people that we know. Working from home means we miss out on the occasional but inspiring conversation with someone we accidentally bump into. Nor do we get that visual reminder when we walk past the office of the legal guy. This has two important implications:

  1. Our work may be more efficient, but we have to find a way to organise the accidental in order to step outside of our silos.

  2. While our work-related meetings become more and more efficient; we also have to plan in non-work related meetings, activities and/or time for chit-chat. Building these social connections helps us stay grounded.

Stay connected

Tightened budgets and a drop in demand have forced many to ‘go out,’ to talk to customers and find out what’s still in demand. This has fuelled valuable innovation and has once again underlined the importance of staying in touch with our customers. The message? Go out, keep listening and stay connected.

The right context for autonomy

As a manager, it's become harder to keep ‘control’ over what your team is doing. And that might be a good thing. The current situation forces us to think more in terms of what people are delivering instead of constantly checking where they are and what they are doing. The focus has shifted from process management, to output/results management. Autonomy should always come with a clear context of the collective goal, clear agreements on responsibilities and constructive feedback. It sounds perfect doesn’t it? Being able to grant autonomy like that surely is a talent and productivity multiplier!

Institutionalise the new innovative space

To get through this crisis with a smile on our faces, we need to keep our flexible-spirits strong. In a short amount of time we managed to effectively switch to working remotely. This meant we also had to invent new ways of working virtually. It seems like we would benefit from maintaining this entrepreneurial spirit going into the future. Let’s keep creating time for change and consciously increasing our openness to new ways of working.

Choose your workplace wisely

Not sitting in traffic everyday, only attending essential meetings, working from home to find the hyper-focus (with fewer distractions), doing some yoga in between meetings; there are numerous benefits to choosing your workplace according to your planned activities. The office is no longer the default workplace. What does this mean? Organisations need to carefully examine how to proceed and not just revert to the ‘old’ way of doing things.

Invest in conscious time-management

Working from home has led to an increased sense of work intensity. Emails, calls and the chance that you might be called for an ad hoc online meeting can create the idea of having to be approachable all-of-the-time. That laptop is an arms’ reach away and some can't stop the urge to have a look. Eventually this creates stress. That’s why increased attention for vitality and conscious time-management is so important. Some tactics shared during the round table: work in a short hour-long cycle, start and end your day with a ritual, keep your laptop in one work-dedicated place only.

Create clarity on support given for facility management

Employees still have numerous unanswered questions about remote working. For example, on claiming travel expenses or creating an ergonomic working spot at home. It seems essential for organisations to have clear policies around these details. Maybe there should be a specific budget for home office equipment like an ergonomic chair and desk, or maybe employees should be free to take these items from the existing office? A great idea that was discussed was the possibility of organisations joining together on a platform to increase bargaining power and drive costs down when buying new equipment.

Take part in the societal reorientation from global to local

The coronavirus crisis has meant a shift towards the local and away from the global. Be aware of this reorientation, make sure to reposition your organisation when necessary, and work on reaping the benefits where possible.

Be empathetic

For some people the crisis has not been kind. Many people have lost their jobs and

working from home does not suit everybody. ‘Normal’ may no longer apply to people’s individual situations. Keep in touch with your colleagues and open up dialogue on the impact of the current situation. Being able to share experiences in this round table was comforting for us and the same type of platform might help others as well.

And now?

We have tried to highlight some of the positive outcomes of the crisis. One of our main takeaways is that we have been challenged to rethink our way of working.

Although the participants in this round table didn’t know each other, we found a way to create an open atmosphere and interact with each other. It’s something that we feel is beneficial and applicable to a wider audience.

We are currently working with the World Food Programme to develop a programme that enhances the way we (virtually) work together. Currently we’re taking the Innovation Team of the WFP through this course. It includes sharing insights on effectively using tools like Mural, Loom and Zoom to create engagement within meetings as well several other techniques.

Are you interested in learning and developing new ways to work with your team? Or would you like to participate in the next round table and experience first-hand this way of working?

Feel free to connect with us here.

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