Like me, you’ve probably been hearing the phrase “new normal’ for what feels like ages now, but I am still no clearer about what it’s meant to mean – maybe that’s the good news.
I think one of the positives that’s come from this period of enforced lockdown, has been the opportunity to learn what ‘the good stuff’ is for us as individuals. So now that we’re starting to think about ‘going back to normal’, perhaps we know with more clarity what we need in order for us to be at our best and shine.
The ‘new normal’ shouldn’t be about getting more out of our people either, they aren’t wet towels that you ring dry to get more out of them. The new normal should be about creating an environment where everyone can be the very best version of themselves.
What excites me about this new normal, is that we have the opportunity of not going back to ‘how it used it be’. We should take the learnings of the last year and try to create an environment where each and every one of us can thrive and flourish.
I’ve been on a lot of forums and both listened and delivered a fair few webinars, and I’ve heard people much more intelligent than me talk about the future of work and what the pandemic might mean to where, when and how we work. I’ve heard some organisations say the office is dead and they are looking to offload their space, but also some that seem hell bent on sprinting back into the office at the very first opportunity – and I can feel a piece of me quietly screaming Noooooooo.
Whatever you do and wherever you do it you are dealing with human beings who are beautifully different. As human beings we are hard wired for connection, so the office will continue to play an important part in getting us together, but I think that it needs to be viewed differently.
I think we should move away from rows of desks that people sit around all day to ‘work’ and consider making the spaces we traditionally work in more collaborative. We should create spaces that get ideas flowing, where people can be creative in their thinking.
Some people, like me, will love being around others again and will come alive when they are back it the office, gaining energy from being around other people, but there will be others that have absolutely thrived working from home and will want to continue to do so.
So, we have a fabulous opportunity to create a working environment that is centred around the individuals within the business rather than a one size fits all philosophy, we need every single person to flourish in whatever way suits them best – think what that could do for your business.
Oh, and when you talk about ‘flexible’ working, be clear about what that means, flexible to me doesn’t mean three days in the office and two from home, that’s prescriptive – real flexible working should be in the hands of the individual to decide where they need to be to be that very best version of themselves, the office, home or somewhere completely different.
Let’s make the ‘new normal’ people centred and watch the difference it will make.