Many businesses reopened across Ontario this week. Here’s how you can adapt to keep your employees feeling safe, happy and productive.
Never in history have we had a stronger focus on workplace policies that shape our behaviours, actions and mental health than the COVID-19 pandemic. While some are saving on gas and mileage by working from home, others are bravely serving on the frontlines. These past two months have given us an opportunity to reflect on what was wrong with our former way of doing things, to figure out what we have to do to make our “new normal” better than the one before.
Recent studies have shown that carbon emissions plunged an unprecedented 17 percent since the Coronavirus broke out. The reduction in driving, flying and industrial output has not only allowed the earth a small chance to recover, but it’s reduced the time and financial costs associated with being physically present at work, meetings and conferences, let alone the stress of commuting. In the “new normal,” businesses should consider implementing flexible working terms for employees, whether that means working completely remotely, for a few days per week, or committing to reducing your carbon footprint by hosting only virtual meetings with stakeholders. You’ll find that your employees’ productivity actually increases (believe it or not) with recent studies showing that those who work remotely clock in an additional 1.4 days per week, adding up to three weeks per year. If you’re a contractor, small business owner, or entrepreneur and find that remote working is lonely or just not working for you, check out our virtual memberships. We’ll have a coach meet with you to keep you on track to reach your goals, and you’ll receive discounts to tons of services and Softwares to help you thrive.
It seems that until working parents set up their home office and started posting about the challenge of working while taking care of kids, nobody took their dual-role very seriously. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but when we go back to work, they’ll still be the same, busy parents!
This unprecedented, prolonged time spent with family has reminded us of what really matters; and businesses should take note. Rather than fixing a start and end time to a workday, find that your employees become even more productive while they work when you allow them to start earlier, end a bit later, or take a couple of hours in the middle of the day to be there for their families in ways that they weren’t able to before. Furthermore, for those looking to attract young talent, your willingness to be flexible could be a make-it-or-break-it deal for them.
Having our networking events be cancelled has challenged us to find creative ways to connect from a distance. Moreover, this has made us think of how we can engage and conduct business with those living in rural areas who have been largely unable to access these opportunities before. Various video gaming, board game and card game companies have stepped up to the plate to offer virtual versions of their multiplayer fun, all for free online. You can even get creative and play games like beer pong over Zoom! While many of us miss going out for drinks, pizza and golf tournaments together, the “new norm” should involve more virtual gatherings to ensure that all people can access these opportunities, including rural communities, working parents, full-time students and those with less financial means to participate in costly outings.
We’ve seen mental health movements in recent years, but notice how mental wellness strategies were never a NECESSITY like they are today? Now that we’ve been forced to stay home from after-work meetings, networking and key things that kept us from turning our brains off until burnout, it’s given us a chance to pause and reflect on how our old work habits might have been detrimental to our mental and physical health. Now is the time to understand how we can best use our time to grow, be effective, thrive, and commit to mental wellness strategies in the “new normal”
It’s clear that “business as usual” wasn’t working for most of us before the pandemic. If we want to strive towards a healthier, happier and more prosperous workforce that allows us to be innovative without burnout, we will need to strive towards creating the “new normal” that we want to live in. What are some “new norms” that you would like to see?
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We work with Ryerson University and the City of Niagara Falls on the Niagara Falls Ryerson Innovation Hub. This initiative is for tech-based startups in or looking to move to Niagara Falls, Canada to grow and scale their business.
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