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How to Avoid Falling Back into Bad Culture Practices Post Covid

people on the commute on a train representing people snapping back to normal

How to Avoid Falling Back into Bad Culture Practices Post Covid

The COVID-19 crisis meant that very quickly, the business landscape changed forever, and many organisations were tested. We saw businesses come under fire for not taking meaningful action to make sure company culture was preserved in these challenging times. For some, all it seemed to do was show their true colours.

However, the other side to this disappointing revelation was that others began to truly lead their teams and demonstrated company culture through this leadership. Through great implementation of remote working, these businesses were able to uphold an excellent employee experience throughout the pandemic.

We’ve not been backwards in coming forwards when it comes to the fact that how you handle your company culture and change in dynamic during this time will say a lot about you as an employer. If you have used this time to create some excellent working practices to ensure your employees feel support and maintain high levels of motivation and productivity, then don’t let them slip when ‘normality’ resumes.

Nothing happens unless something moves

Inaction can be paralysing for company culture. Perhaps during this time you’ve been pro-active in looking at what works and what doesn’t. Maybe you’ve even gone so far as to survey your employees and get their feedback on what they hope to see is the ‘new normal’ for your organisation. But while best interests are there, taking no action from suggestions and feedback can be demoralising and frustrating for people – making them wonder why they ever shared their insight in the first place.

Don’t be afraid to make changes now. People are looking for strong leadership and action.
During a time such as this, people will be more forgiving even when the new ideas workout. At least you’ve tried, and at least together you can learn and make improvements.

Keep in mind that nothing happens unless something moves.

Placing a higher value on ‘social’ time

It has become apparent that the forced virtual office has meant that employers quickly recognised the importance of team downtime. The rise of virtual events demonstrates that employers are acknowledging the role that team bonding and interpersonal social communication plays and want to implement strategies that strengthen those bonds.

Before this, it was rare to find a workplace that placed such a strong emphasis on consistent team social events. Sure, you might find the odd get together throughout the year – but did your team get together at regular intervals to socialise and build connections?

Employers have likely realised that these ‘downtime’ events were critical to keeping team morale and collaboration going. If your team has maintained high output while working and socialising virtually, imagine what could be achieved if this spotlight on team building continues?

Let business be personal

We have come a long way from the perfect corporate image of pressed shirts and immaculate suits. While dress codes have relaxed, attitudes and empathy around mistakes haven’t.

One positive from the pandemic has been that we have all been reminded that while we are only human, that should be celebrated! We have all had to handle setbacks and challenges; some of us went from turning up looking pristine every day to accepting a zoom call wearing pyjamas from the waist down.

Suddenly business became a little more personal. Clients saw the inside of our homes, maybe even caught a glimpse of partners and children and began to see what makes us human – and that’s ok.

The workplace will not thrive when control, criticism and competitiveness are rife; this will cause people to buckle, contribute to poor collaboration and over-exertion. The truth is we won’t ever have complete control, and we should celebrate our human side, leaving faceless professionalism at the door.

Safeguarding employee’s mental health

The term ‘coronacoaster’ was coined for a good reason. The pandemic has caused the most resilient individuals to experience ill mental health as a result of the uncertainty caused by COVID19. The prospect of themselves or family members becoming ill or losing their jobs along with lack of social interaction, the pressure of homeschooling and limited daily routines left many with symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.

If you, as an employer have become more comfortable with acknowledging and speaking with your employees about mental health as a result of COVID19 and investigating ways that you can support your employees – it is critical that this continues. 

Not only are many individuals going to feel the long-term implications of the stress brought on by the pandemic, but it is about time that ill mental health was given the same empathy and support as ill physical health.

If you genuinely care about your employee’s wellbeing, along with their output, you will continue to do all that you can to safeguard them.

ebook on flexible working

Appreciate and endorse remote working

Isn’t it liberating to finally understand that remote working isn’t just a way for millennial employees to pretend to work while doing yoga in the garden?

In all seriousness, we have written several articles on the positive aspects of remote and flexible working. Still, it is strange to think that it took a global pandemic for employers to recognise it as a legitimate way to work.

You can read some of our remote working articles below:

But now that employers have introduced remote working, and afforded employees the work/life balance they’ve been yearning for, you risk doing untold damage by reversing this policy. You have likely realised that productivity levels haven’t dropped as a result, and perhaps even staff morale and motivation has peaked.

If this happens during the confines of a pandemic, imagine the potential if you continued offering remote working when the landscape begins to normalise. Employees can truly embrace the freedom and balance that remote working brings, with your business and employer branding reaping the rewards.

The other side to this, however, is by reverting to traditional, draconian working environments and hours you risk demotivating staff, and even driving them to seek out a new position with companies that continue to offer remote working.

Actions to Take;

  • No matter the idea for improving company culture, start now. Don’t wait.
  • Create a calendar of social events that teams can begin to look forward to. Get their input, and collaborate with them on what would really work for them right now.
  • Don’t lose that personal touch of empathy and human kindness. Ask how people’s families are doing and how they are doing. Let’s be people first.
  • Make employee wellbeing and mental health a priority from gaining third party training or coaching, or putting in a safeguarding policy.
  • Look at the way your business operates in regards to flexible and remote working. Now is the time to consider a new approach.

If you are set on maintaining excellent practices and company culture post-COVID19 and need to implement strategies with some professional support, contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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About The Author

Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.