The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has changed the way people live and work. Before, it was all about making work happen anywhere, anytime, and seamlessly. The dramatic shift in the percentage of employees working from home created unexpected challenges, now it has accelerated and the priority is to keep businesses moving forward.
Cisco, recently commissioned a global research focused on what work will look like post-pandemic. The study presents an optimistic picture of what organisations can accomplish moving forward. It reveals forward-looking lessons for IT and business leaders who are navigating their return to office strategies. Some of the study findings are covered in the new report: “A New Perspective on the Modern Workplace”, which identifies six specific lessons that will be particularly important related to changes in mindset, attitude, direction, and behavior.
For instance, a 74% said their business will in some ways emerge stronger from the crisis: While the first half of 2020 was among one of the most tumultuous times in modern history, nearly three-quarters of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: Despite the challenges, our business will emerge stronger in some areas from the current crisis. This optimism is indicative of the ingenuity and innovation organizations have shown. It has been incredible to see how many initiatives around digital transformation and other forms of modernization scheduled for the medium to long-term, or deferred because of other competing priorities, have been accelerated.
Respondents according to the study say flexibility is here to stay, and it will benefit organizations as well as employees: Almost half (49%) of respondents indicated that flexible working hours are here to stay. And when it comes to hiring, 50% of our survey respondents said increased remote work would lead to a more inclusive and extended talent pool. Businesses are realizing that work can happen anywhere, productivity isn’t lost, and an expanded talent pool will enable stronger and more capable work teams.
On the other hand, the vast majority of managers shared that they have increased their emphasis on employee wellbeing and work-life balance: Nearly 9 out of 10 managers (87%) who responded to the survey said that as a result of the pandemic they increased emphasis on employee wellbeing and work-life balance. Of those managers reporting the increased emphasis, nearly half (47%) said they see this being maintained over the long term. Study participants said they viewed the pandemic as a catalyst for major change. This newfound focus and priority on health and wellbeing is a silver-lining during what is otherwise a sobering period of time. The obvious question remains as to whether this mindset shift can withstand the test of time, but participants were optimistic that workplace culture is transforming in the right direction.