2022: Where are we at and how do we get where we want to go?
This essay will be a personal assessment of the situation with regards to the medical situation, the economic situation and the transformation of the personal situation of many employees, with recommendations of things to do to make sure each of us are successful making this journey:
The medical crisis:
Despite the current excitement over Covid infection rates we are on a very encouraging path. It is absolutely normal for viruses to reinvent themselves with new variants. It is also normal for each new virus versions to be more communicable than the previous version. While that sounds terrible, it is likewise true that each new version is less lethal than the previous versions. The result is that the virus is becoming easier to transmit and be caught while less deadly... More people will likely catch the virus, but the symptoms will be less severe and the extent of medical intervention less demanding. In short, over time, there is high likelihood this Covid virus and its variants will more and more become like the common cold.
So, what to do?
- Get vaccinated
- Wash your hands often and keep your living and working environment clean.
- Wear quality masks ( and replace or wash them on a reasonable basis when out and about at risk of coming in contact with the virus )
- Keep your immune system as strong as possible, via the good health measures of proper eating, enhancing and upgrading your physical fitness and quality sleep.
- But at the same time, continue to live and interact to have the mental stimulation of a good and involved life!
Companies and all other employers have been battered by the medical crisis and the old normal has been pushed aside. Wherever possible, hybrid working models have been introduced many with a strong digital component and with home working replacing office working. The results have allowed much work to get done with more physical safely but at a considerable price. While we all have appreciated the reduction in commuting time and working from home in casual outfits, the downside has been a significant reduction in human interaction and quality communications. Feelings of loneliness, anxiety and despair have increased and the result is a rise in mental health issues, the extent and consequence of which we are only beginning to realize. At the same time, customers are experiencing increased difficulty contacting businesses and providers of vital services.
So, while the imperative is to ensure the safety of workers, the limits of remote working have become obvious.
The likely outcome is, to the extent possible, a hybrid work model with more time spent working via remote digital environments and communications coupled with an increased and improved use of team meetings and direct supervisor/supervisee interactions.
This will naturally include modifications to business models to ensure digital tools and other efficiency enhancing technology applications can eb beneficially incorporated to enhance productivity and efficiency.
So, what to do?
In short, we accept we must change our models to survive... and we will
One of the consequences of the Covid crisis associated with the increased digitization of communication to facilitate home working has been that the relationship between supervisor and supervisee has been considerably weakened. Many companies, particularly those embracing and increasingly reliant on digital tools, are now looking for their employees to self-manage themselves... to know what to do and to do it without supervision. For some employees, this will be wonderful. They will embrace the freedom and thrive. But for some employees this will be a source of enormous stress and they will feel abandoned by their companies and at a loss concerning what to not, how to do it, when to do it. Both company managers and corporate HR departments will need to look at the various aspects of self-managing employees and figure out how to make this new approach work. And they will need to involve their individual employees in this process as well. There used to be a time when many employees simply put themselves in the hands of the company to decide, to a large degree, their work requirements including their career development, including their training and promotions. It looks like the new digitally imposed business models with more remote working, will not guarantee the same degree of corporate career management by the companies.
So, what to do?
For those employees who are up to the challenge of self-managing, they will need to add to their self-management, increased personal ownership and management of their own careers, deciding what new things they need to learn, what skills they need to master and then take the lead making this happen... both to serve the company paying their salaries and to prepare themselves for promotion and further career growth. For those who have been used to simply following the wishes of their companies, they will have to rethink this business model and step up to the table by realizing they must less rely on their companies and more on themselves for their career development and management. So, first step is self-assessment, deciding with rightless clarity where you are and the strength of your competencies, then decide the next steps... what skills do you think you need to acquire to move forward to where you want to be and then arranging to get that training via company sponsorship, or personal action, so you are qualified and able to reposition yourself into your next opportunity.
While some will view this loss of support by being disappointed their employers are less interested and abandoning them, others will view this as an opportunity to gain control of and manage their individual personal growth.
In a perfect world, let us hope both management and employees adjust the new realities and adjust roles and missions to make a better set of solutions to the benefit of both the companies, and their employees!