Forward to Work

Forward to Work

You’re never going back to work.

Regardless of your industry, temporary working conditions or even job status – you’re never going “back,” even when you return. The truth is that the world, and work, have been irreversibly changed by a global pandemic. Before you mourn the loss of the way work used to be, pause to consider and celebrate the opportunity before you. As a leader in this pivotal moment, you get to design the “next future” of work for your employees and the only direction that matters is forward.

To reach a new shore, you’ll need to navigate a sea of uncertainty. The circumstances might not be ideal, but you can overcome each barrier by focusing on the people you’re in a position to support. Despite the unknowns you face, you already know one thing about your future workplace: It won’t be what you knew. And that’s okay.

The status quo no longer applies. The rules are changing. Some employers, for example, are abandoning physical office spaces, allowing leases to expire because their teams have proven they can work successfully from their homes. Companies are adopting new practices in every phase of their customer journey and employee experience. This is an extraordinary opportunity for growth and innovation, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.

Your Forward to Work plan must address three essential elements:

Get the Pulse

Survey your employees to establish their level of comfort and get them involved in the process. Learn what will give your people confidence and incorporate their feedback into your Forward to Work plan. What kind of “survey” works best in your environment? Small department or team discussions? One-on-ones? Consider the best ways for you to get an accurate pulse.

Plan as a Team

Assemble your “Forward to Work” team. Select members for your team based on their unique strengths rather than their titles, then work together to determine your organization’s answers to critical questions. Is there an office admin who naturally masters the details? Do you have a frontline employee who designs elaborate systems? Look beyond traditional leadership positions to find the right members for your team.

Present New Expectations

Your people will return to a workplace with new expectations. It will feel different regardless of whether or not it looks different. Even businesses that operated through the pandemic with employees “on site” have fundamentally modified many of their practices. Conduct re-orientation with everyone in your organization. Share what has changed and communicate the new expectations.

Download the humanworks Forward to Work Planning Tool below to build out these elements and begin creating your plan (or elevate the planning you have already started).

Make the learning greater than the experience. As you construct your next future and modify your approach, repeat the actions in this plan regularly with your team:

  1. Get the PULSE: Listen to your people. It doesn’t always need to be a survey. Ask and listen continually.
  2. Use a team approach to make your PLAN: Track and address critical questions. The right leaders continually learn and adjust. Get them on your team.
  3. PRESENT vital information to everyone on your team: Communicate and educate every day.
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