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  • Adastrum Consulting

WE ARE NOW “NICER” AT WORK – AN UNEXPECTED BENEFIT OF COVID-19

The impact of coronavirus has accelerated so much digital and organisational change and transformation; however, it is fundamentally a human crisis. As a result, one of the greatest changes to emerge is a culture of kindness, tolerance and empathy.

The phrase ‘how are you?’ is no longer just a formality or pleasantry, as the response seemingly holds more weight and resonance than ever before and increasingly professionals are keen to indulge in a level of personal small talk before getting to transactional or on task dialogue. Having spoken to a large number of our clients and professional contacts over the past few weeks about the challenges and changes that COVID-19 has presented, ‘everyone being nicer to each other’ has been observed largely across the board.

After many years of HR departments, Royal Ambassadors and next weeks Mental Health Awareness week, working to promote mental health and wellbeing up the business agenda, the pandemic has pushed mental health to be one of the most common discussion topics as we share a greater appreciation of the toll lockdown may be taking on individuals. The visual nature of video calls and seeing straight into colleagues’ homes has also helped to break down barriers to sensitive conversations and meant people are more mindful of others’ home lives and appreciative of how their productivity may flex around family and caring commitments.

As lockdown eases and businesses forge forwards, this culture of kindness will not ebb away but will continue to shape team interaction and underline the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) in leadership to build trust in disruptive times. Coronavirus has helped to open new channels of communication with employees and driven greater engagement, which should be embraced as part of HR strategies and will be invaluable to support future business transformation.

Many businesses are expected to adopt a greater and permanent remote working culture and continue to benefit from increased productivity and reduced operating costs while supporting staff wellbeing. Leaders are now planning for how to reimagine the working environment and potentially change the role of the physical office, so it becomes a centre for training and building relationships between teams and clients rather than the bedrock of delivery. Greater investment and thought into developing virtual networks as well as opportunities to support employees will be a focus, with organisations seeking to recreate 'water cooler moments’ and online team-building experiences to further strengthen bonds.

In the same way we have seen society take the plight of individuals to heart, the shift in attitudes and behaviours in the new workplace has deepened working relationships. A genuinely caring environment will endure as an important and attractive business value, crucial for sustaining retention and cultivating staff wellbeing.

How will your organisation build strategies that will continue to nurture the new nicer human culture?

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