Designing post covid offices
If employees understand the corporate vision for virtual office culture, they will understand the expectations and embrace the direction. [ Photo / MoH ]

One of the key questions you might be asking yourself is how to emerge from the crisis with a strong and motivated team. You may have faced challenges maintaining team cohesiveness in view of the current remote working arrangements because physical employee interactions have been limited.

However, if there is ever a time you will need to have a vibrant and highly motivated workforce, it is the period after Covid-19. This period will present new opportunities and challenges that will require teams to be highly innovative and work under minimal supervision.

Whereas this pandemic may seem like a time when teams crumble under the pressure of the unknown, it presents a unique opportunity to introduce creative initiatives to build strong and resilient teams.

Here are some approaches you can take to ensure that you come out of the pandemic with a stronger team.

1. Build Strong Virtual Office Culture

Maintaining your culture in times of crisis is crucial to team morale, productivity, and staying strong as a team through tough situations. In this time of social distancing, your team is having to navigate new ways of connecting with coworkers they no longer see in person.

Despite the extent of the virus’s impact on an organization, this type of disruption means you have to respond quickly and adjust leadership approaches to guide employees through the crisis. An effective company culture is the strongest way to ease the transition to remote working, adjust to new norms, and build a strong team for the future.

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To build a strong virtual culture, the first step would be to communicate your culture goals. If employees understand the corporate vision for virtual office culture, they will understand the expectations, embrace the direction, and work towards achieving those goals and ideas.

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You could also host virtual team building events, considering topics and themes that relate to your business or industry, as well as your employees’ interests. Having coffee or lunch “together”, scheduling regular calls and involving employees’ families are other strategies that can be very effective in building a strong virtual culture. Ultimately, ensure you incorporate your team in developing these strategies in order to create ownership.

2. Consider Skills Development

Adapting employees’ skills and roles to the post-pandemic ways of working will be crucial to building a strong and resilient team in the post-Covid-19 period. You may have noticed that even before the current crisis, changing technologies and new ways of working were disrupting jobs and the skills employees need to do them.

The new working environment will require you to figure out how you can adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and you will have to learn how to match workers to new roles and activities. This dynamic is about more than just remote working: it’s about how you can develop the skills of your workforce to deliver new business models in the post-pandemic era.

There are many opportunities to continue training teams remotely

This is the right time for you to craft a talent strategy that develops employees’ digital skills and cognitive capabilities which will be in high demand in the post-Covid-19 period. There are many opportunities to continue training your teams remotely, whether by a fully online or a blend of both online and one on one training. This will help you emerge from this pandemic with a team ready to handle the work dynamics of the new era.

3. Reward creativity and innovation

There’s no doubting the benefits of innovation and creativity in business, especially during this period. Looking at some of the most successful organizations in history, it’s clear they are not afraid to think differently and to innovate at every opportunity. It is your team that is best placed to suggest new ways to doing things that will not only ensure survival during this period, but also improve efficiency and effectiveness post-Covid.

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The reason innovation in the workplace is sometimes hard to achieve is because it can’t be done alone. It takes a team to innovate and change the way an organization operates in the long-term.

To encourage creativity and innovation, it is critical to reward and support your team. For example, if a team member has an innovative idea, it is important to give them the freedom to take the idea forward, without feeling like they’re putting their professional neck on the line. Create an accepting environment where employees feel they can come up with new ideas and challenge convention, and then give them the responsibility to execute it themselves.

Conclusion

As a leader, you have a unique opportunity to ensure you emerge from this pandemic with a stronger team than before. Such a team will play a vital role in helping your organization thrive in the years to come, positioning you firmly in the post-Covid 19 business environment.

By building a strong virtual office culture, developing the skills of your team and rewarding innovation and creativity, you will be assured of a vibrant and motivated team to support your business goals in the post-pandemic period.

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About the Author

Perminus Wainaina is the CEO of Corporate Staffing Services, a Human Resources consultancy firm based in Nairobi, Kenya. EMAIL: [email protected] WEB: www.corporatestaffing.co.ke

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