COVID-19: Post-pandemic work culture embraces positive changes

COVID-19: Post-pandemic work culture embraces positive changes

With offices returning to in-person work after the COVID-19 pandemic impact, companies are working on boosting work-life balance for their employees. 

According to experts, organisations are bringing various changes such as including remote or hybrid working models, enhancing mental health support and providing new benefits and provisions to their employees to strengthen their efficiency at work. 

Speaking in this regard, James Michael Lafferty, CEO of Fine Hygienic Holding (FHH), underlined that people are working more hours than they are spending time with family or with self. Therefore, the expert highlighted the need for providing right culture for an immersive work experience to employees to boost their productivity.

“Take a 24-hour day for example: If we assume seven hours of sleep, then that leaves 17 waking hours in a typical day. If we work for nine or more, then by default work becomes our number one daytime activity. Most employers don’t realise this – face this situation, so if work is going to be our number one conscious activity, we better provide the right culture for our employees to be immersed," Mr James said. 

He further explained that such issues have increased in a post-pandemic world in the presence of dynamics like the ‘Great Resignation' in which employees are re-evaluating their priorities and goals.

“In this environment, culture comes under a microscope. To attract the best employees in this day and age of transparency, companies need to show how serious they are about bringing about positive change," he added. 

According to Georges Chidiac, CEO of Damana Holding, company culture has become crucial these days in terms of attracting new talent as well as retain existing employees. He noted that the current workforce market is seeking companies with nurturing cultures which take care of their employees and add personal and professional value to their growth. 

He pointed out various factors affected the corporate workplace in the present circumstances. Increasing number of Millennials and Gen Z in the workforce is reshaping how the traditional workplace culture is viewed. Furthermore, the pandemic has shifted how employees are viewing their jobs and what they are seeking from their workplace. 

"Having that shift from a traditional 9am-5pm to flexible working hours, remote work options, attention to mental health, as well as a healthy work-life balance, are all things that new talent looks for in a potential employer," Mr Georges added. 

According to a recent LinkedIn study, 40 percent of professionals prioritise company culture when picking a new job. At the same time, 60 percent of professionals focus on compensation and benefits when choosing a new job. Another 63 percent value work-life balance at their workplace. 

Chidiac explained that Gen Z, in particular, are focusing on a workplace culture designed around better understanding for mental health and caring for their overall wellbeing. 

In fact, employee insurance plans are also covering mental health concerns 

"In today’s hyper-connected work environment, individuals ought to be in a state of well-being in which they can cope with everyday stress, be productive, and reach their full potential. It is no longer a taboo to say that help from professionals is required to maintain that state of well-being," Mr Chidiac added. 

He further underlined the importance of location flexibility in enhanced employee retention rates, noting that it is more personalised. In addition, it proves that the company prioritise their employees’ work-life balance. 

Noting that there are several jobs which cannot be remotely, many employees tend to miss out on opportunities that are relevant to their work and their progression. Daily physical interaction with colleagues and clients is also indispensable to nurture skills and experience. 

"Not to mention that having that clear distinction between the work life and the home or personal life is critical for an employee to move from one state to the other and start a productive day. It also helps in separating the two, making individuals less likely to get distracted at home, which can be crippling when trying to complete certain tasks or have meetings one after the other," he added. 

There are certain industries which cannot function to their complete potential without face-to-face interactions. Therefore, organisations are beginning to offer employees support in different ways, such as recognising their efforts with internal award schemes and boosting their work-life balance.

Lafferty opined that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought benefits beyond work. 

"People now want the freedom, when the job allows, to work from home or as we call it, ‘Work From Anywhere’. Obviously, with this kind of shift, the appeal of an on-site wellness centre can lose some of the broad appeal it once enjoyed pre-pandemic,” he explained.

Voicing Chidiac's opinion, Lafferty underlined the significance of office for building a culture that cannot be done purely on Zoom calls.

"Meeting face-to-face is a fundamental part of the human experience. So, I believe this needs to remain as a component of the work culture. However, the pandemic did show that certain roles, and certain people, can maintain and even improve productivity via some level of flexible work – working from anywhere," Lafferty added. 

He affirmed that current focus is flexible work, with several companies working on various ways to keep their employees satisfied. Lafferty believes that flexible work is here to stay, with companies trusting their employees to adopt hybrid working model. 

"At FHH, we did our homework and also lots of internal reflection. It resulted in us adopting a “three-two” work arrangement, meaning three days in the office, and two days where the employee can work from anywhere. So far, it is working well. I sense we have found the ‘sweet spot’ for most of our people," he concluded.

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