Implementing a workforce transformation that removes the office environment in favour of remote working, regardless of the size of the workforce, is a significant undertaking. A change such as this in a normal environment would usually take months of research, planning and significant resources to embed and sustain, not to mention upskilling leaders on how to effectively manage a remote workforce.
This kind of structured, methodical change was obviously not achievable when in a matter of days, many of the world’s workers were told to stop commuting to the office and start working from home for an indefinite period. This has led many businesses to the realisation that they, and their workforce, can achieve rapid change. But in order to be successful in the new working world, they must apply many of the principles of organisational change management (OCM).
The most crucial OCM principles businesses must embody are clear communication, behavioural shifts and mindsets of trust. Starting with open and honest communication, leaders must be completely transparent and open about what discussions and decisions are being made for the business that will impact the workforce, irrespective of whether those decisions will have a negative impact. Above all, it is crucial to remember that as an informed workforce is a less anxious workforce.
Behaviours and mindsets must also shift, and businesses must ensure they trust their employees to complete high-quality work from home, regardless of time spent sitting at the desk. The traditional thinking of ‘the more time in the office, the more value you’re creating’ or the 9-5 approach, should now be firmly agreed as an outdated model and removed in favour of more value-based approaches.
In times of great adversity and challenge, it is incumbent on nations, businesses and people to rise to the occasion and face that new challenge together in order to survive, grow and flourish in the new world. We have seen such a rapid and significant shift in the way we all work that it is a testament to human flexibility and our ability to adapt to a new environment.
Consultant – People & Organisation at Capgemini Invent