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Tips for Planning for the ‘New Normal’ Part 1!
Eight weeks of lockdown have impacted every one of us, there have been gains and losses. Having coped with the adjustment to lockdown we are now being asked to change again, to ease out of lockdown and transition to ‘New Normal’.
Manager attention must now turn to the next stage in the process; we might call this phase one, evidently there will be several phases.
The government’s message is vague and confusing but, at some point soon, managers will be asking staff to change again and either move back to their workplace or to work in a different way. Here are some ideas to consider: –
Some Practical Areas….
- With a lack of clear information, identify all sources that might support you as a manager to keep up to date with COVID and especially safety matters; this might include the local council, HSE, the Gov website and professional bodies if you don’t have HR or other people to handle this
- Plan for several phases, plan for several scenarios; we are in unchartered territory, aim to work with other key staff and leaders in your business to look at every angle, many minds will make creating a safe new working world much more possible
- If you need to create physical changes in your location, start now and make a plan for how this will be done and who will be involved. It is likely that everyone will be ordering PPE and new signage for example, so companies will be super busy and backed up, get ahead of the game!
Some People Matters ….
- Your people will continue to be scared, nervous, uncertain, emotional – grieving. So, keep talking, keep sharing, ask for their opinions, find out what would make them feel safe to return to work, and ask what they need to help them through the transition
- Real leaders listen, take time to do so – it will pay dividends
- Coaching as a leadership style his critical in times of change and challenge. Having coaching conversations based around attentive listening and questioning whilst coming from a place of openness and solution-focused thinking will serve you well
- The earlier you engage staff in critical ‘easing’ discussions the more they will come to you with their ideas and concerns, you can then act quickly
- Nobody knows what the ‘New Normal’ looks like yet and the chances are that there will be several versions of it, adaptability is key.
- You may need to renegotiate work contracts as well as policies. What was once considered impossible or unworkable, in terms of flexible working for example, may now be the best way forward
- Creating company-wide or team specific contracts or agreements, where everyone agrees what ‘New Normal’ is for your workplace will help. It can create clarity, consistency, and fairness; just like the government’s plan to rebuild, it may need to be reviewed very often – maybe weekly
- Keep your physical or virtual door open as people will need to talk about their fear and concerns and make sure that you find others who can support you too
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