The future of work in a post-pandemic world has been saved
The future of work in a post-pandemic world
From survive to thrive
At the start of the pandemic, we outlined three key phases that resilient leaders would have to navigate in leading their organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic. Respond, Recover and Thrive. Most organizations’ first priority was respond—making key decisions and changes that focused on health, safety, essential services, and the virtualization of work.
As organizations emerged from the respond phase and transitioned into
recover, organizational leaders began assessing their current situation and taking key steps to plan for the future, adjusting their perspective based on this evolving new normal in a world of perpetual disruption.
In recover, we encouraged leaders to take five key actions—reflect, recommit, reengage, rethink, and reboot—to begin planning and strengthening their position in the market.
The respond and recover phases delivered mixed outcomes: uplifts in workforce productivity and engagement against a backdrop of well-being challenges and increased anxiety—all accompanied by a near-constant stream of shifting social and cultural currents.
As we’ve entered 2021, it’s time to look forward. While leaders continue to respond to and recover from new challenges, we must proactively define what the “new normal” could mean for work, the workforce, and the workplace. Now is the time for organizations and leaders to navigate to thrive.
What’s clear is that thriving in the future will not mean the absence of challenges and disruptions. Rather, it means adapting, adjusting, prioritizing, and creating resilience to manage through instability. Thriving means not only planning for the return to work in the future of work but embracing the new insights and capabilities that COVID-19 has accelerated to reimagine the future altogether.
Three keys to humanizing the future of work
It’s time to move from concept to action and focus on the path toward thriving, not merely surviving. To humanize the future of work, it is imperative that we:
- Re-architect work: This is the time to define new future work aspirations and outcomes and to focus on the “art of the possible” for what we can achieve using technology to enable and elevate human capabilities.
- Unleash the workforce: We must challenge how we think about the workforce and use technology to help identify and unleash human potential—within and beyond the organization.
- Adapt the workplace: We cannot underestimate the organizational and cultural shifts that are demanded in the expanded work environment—which includes the ecosystem of physical and virtual workplaces—and the expectations around how to collaborate, engage, and relate to each other.
There is no “waiting for a better time.” The time to start humanizing the future of work is now.
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