“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” – Winston Churchill
All are agreed that 2020 has been a turbulent year across the board. We have been through a lot both in our personal and professional lives, and businesses have been hit significantly. Whilst many businesses have been hit catastrophically by the effects of the pandemic, some have managed to soldier on.
It may look like we are coming out of the woods, however, I think its safe to say that 2021 is going to be tough in a different way. As you reflect on the year that has past, and begin to focus on your business targets for the coming twelve months, consider your colleagues and employees and what is newly important to them in a world that has changed so much so rapidly. No doubt, once you have has your festive break and time to gather your gumption, you will want to hit the beginning of next year with vision and energy.
Your workplace will require more conscious leadership this year, as many require support and patience as they move towards a work life that is closer to what it used to be. Plan for a workplace that is people focused, resilient and productive. Make your business a conscious business in 2021.
1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
If you are a leader in business, you will likely be focused on ensuring that your business thrives in the new year; that you shake off the difficulties of the past twelve months and ‘get back to business’. However, a conscious business leader will do this whilst giving equal consideration to the people they employ.
When planning how to operate this coming year, consider the position your team is in. Some may be returning to work after some time, and therefore may be nervous or a little rusty; be conscious and kind towards these people. Many people will have altered circumstances now, and may have different work/life balance requirements than they did many months ago; expect this shift. Many people will have fresh concerns about a return to work, so ensure that your are open to anything your colleagues may wish to raise.
2. Consider The New Home Working Norms
Working from home has become widespread this year, and many people will have seen the benefits of it. You may be considering integrating home working into the way that you run your business on a more permanent basis. This shift will be both a good and a not so good thing. Yes, it gives people more flexibility, means that the time and money spent on commuting is diminished and costs businesses less money in rent and power.
However, being productive at home is harder, so you may need to find a way to ensure that productivity does not drop. Also, for many people living alone, work is essential to their wellbeing and resilience as a result of human connection; therefore, a 5-day a week working from home situation is not going to work as well for those individuals. Be mindful of both positive and negative effects of remote employees.
3. Be Attentive to Safety Concerns
Safety is bound to be a concern, certainly in the early days of returning to a workplace post pandemic. Therefore, you must carefully consider not only the safety measures you are going to take, but also the clarity and understanding with which you communicate them to your employees. Be conscious that there will be plenty of communication from nervous colleagues and naysayers. Be rigorous and be patient!
4. Keep Everybody Up to Date
One of the trickiest things about planning anything in 2020 has been the rate and regularity with which the local, national and global situation has changed. Any conscious business leader must entertain the very real possibility that this is likely to continue. Be transparent with your workforce and stay in touch. This will not only ensure that you are complying but will help to foster trust and reassurance between you and your colleagues.
2021 is a new year and a fresh start for many. Success in this year will be largely down to the care with which we plan our endeavours and treat the people around us. Show conscious leadership by planning for a resilient workforce in 2021.
By Chris Thomson
Getting back to work in the new year is bound to require some energy. Here’s how to gather up that energy… How to Get Back into Work in the New Year with Purpose and Passion
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