How to succeed in building tomorrows work life?

Tomorrow’s winners in the work arena are the ones who manage to offer flexible digital solutions and create a culture that speaks to both the head and heart.

Recent times have shown us how quickly change can happen and we have experienced how dependent we are of each other. In my work as a psychologist in Aker Care, I see that people react very differently to the changes that has occurred during the pandemic. Many have become skilled at using the opportunities that digital solutions provides and many have missed meeting their colleagues at work. How we choose to solve the work tasks is crucial for the well-being and motivation for the employees.

Future winners create and facilitate good solutions. We have become “hyperdigitalized” in a short time and undergone a digital transformation that in normally would take several years. One of the reasons why we have been able to adapt and quickly learn new digital tools is because it has been perceived as an absolutely necessity. People’s adaptability and willingness to change has become very visible. The winners of tomorrows working life are those who succeed in creating good solutions, and those who succeed in “reboarding” the employees; to invite existing employees back to work in a smooth and satisfactory manner.

Finding the balance between work and leisure time. Many people have experienced a positive connection between job satisfaction and self-perceived productivity. On the flip-side, it can be difficult to find the balance between work and private life. Some employees work more than their scheduled hours when in home office because the working day no longer has a clear start and finish.

Recent surveys indicates that there is uncertainty about how to best succeed reboarding employees’ back to a new work situation. Research suggests that there are more questions than answers on this topic (Ref: Stami). Those of us who can tolerate some uncertainty and who may also be able to look at this period as an opportunity will better master the time ahead.

How do we succeed?
Values ​​that is important to retain are flexibility and adaptation. New technology provides opportunities for employees to have digital meetings and dialogue without travelling to the work place. In other words, technology can lead to more efficiency. Digital meetings often require more planning  and a structured agenda. It is important to be precise and keep progress. This supports an improved workflow and higher efficiency.

Culture is created by speaking to both the head and the heart. To succeed with digital meetings, you must also make sure that everyone is familiar with the digital solutions and ideally also know each other. Those who succeed with digital meetings are those who not only speak about work-tasks, but also set aside some time to talk about other topics. To create culture, you must speak both to the head and the heart, much like a campfire conversation. Those who succeed in building this work environment have a greater chance of fulfilling the employees psychological needs of connectedness, togetherness and purpose. All of which are basic human needs, regardless of a pandemic.

Another aspect I have noticed is that many employees think that it is important to speak often and have a low threshold for interacting digitally. For some this might be demanding because the digital tools are unfamiliar and they do not want to take up too much space in digital meetings. Young people who grow up with digital platforms do not show this embarrassment and master the digital interaction in a more natural way than older employees.

Future winners see the opportunities. When we are in the process of creating the new work day, it is important to include what we know when it comes to e.g. use of home office. There is a lot of uncertainty and the research base is still weak. The advice to companies heading into the post-corona period is to consider this uncertainty in their planning and risk assessments. There is no “one size fits all” solution, and we need more knowledge about what works, for example, in terms of the degree of use of a home office.

The companies that are able to adapt the best will probably see positive effects with regards to health, sickness absence and turnover. In addition this can affect the companies’ results competitiveness.  We can thus claim that companies that succeed with the changes we are now facing, and see this time as a an opportunity, will be tomorrow’s winners in working life.

Jan-Martin Berge –  Psychologist specialist Aker Care