Challenges of Building a Post-COVID Company Culture

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Thursday, August 20, 2020

Challenges of Building a Post-COVID Company Culture

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Thursday, August 20, 2020

COVID-19 is creating permanent change in workforce policies and corporate culture. Leadership teams face numerous challenges as they manage employees in a post-COVID environment.

At this point, only one thing is certain: the workplace will never operate the same way it did before COVID. Here are some of the issues that organizations will need to resolve:

  • The impact of working from home. Workplace surveys indicate that productivity has not suffered in the work-at-home environment. In fact, many employees report that they have fewer interruptions and are less distracted at home. However, managers are striving to maintain and improve employee engagement—a difficult task without face-to-face interaction. In addition, employees find it hard to maintain work/life balance when the computer connection is on the kitchen counter. While some employees thrive on their own, others need closer monitoring and frequent interaction. COVID has created a need to adapt supervisory skills to fit remote interaction.
  • Providing appropriate work tools for the home. Not every employee has a suitable work environment at home. In fact, most employees scrambled to set up an impromptu work area. Companies are wrestling with decisions about what tools they will provide to remote workers. What furniture and electronic equipment will a company provide in order to create an efficient and comfortable work-at-home station?
  • Online security. Allowing employees to work from home means that organizations must plan for and provide secure procedures for handling information. Cybercriminals adapt quickly and COVID has provided them a new arena for stealing information. Without proper infrastructure businesses face risks such as network malfunction, data loss, and security breaches.
  • Relationships. Working at separate locations makes it difficult to build relationships among employees. Collaboration and teamwork is stronger when employees know, respect, and care about each other, but it will take time and creative thinking to develop effective online interaction. Employee recognition is also more difficult with workers at remote locations. When a group cannot gather in person to say “congratulations” or “thank you,” managers need to devise new ways to reach out.
  • Uncertainty and employee attrition. Leaders have a hard time responding to employee questions when answers are unclear or uncertain. Workplace structure seems to change almost daily right now. Revenue for many businesses is in decline and employees may be rightfully concerned about layoffs and furloughs. Employees who remain may be asked to take on more assignments. Many companies are losing staff as employees seek more secure placements.
  • Difficulty in hiring and training. Due to social distancing, HR departments have adapted recruiting and training practices. HR teams need to ensure that new hires can be adequately trained even when the training is conducted via video conference.  As with current employees, new hires will need appropriate equipment and effective ways to interact with other employees. Those responsible for hiring need to adapt the onboarding process to meet COVID precautions while not abandoning solid hiring practices.
  • Leadership burnout. Managers and supervisors are in a period of rapid and unpredictable change. They face daily adjustments to their management style and company procedures. During this pandemic, they are expected to be inspirational and comforting as they interact with staff. Stress and burnout are not uncommon. Organizations need to give attention to build a culture that culture of manager support that strongly encourages, enables and expects manager self-care.

Although businesses face unprecedented challenges, being put to the test can serve to build resolve, foster creativity, and promote progress. Organizations can continue to improve the effectiveness of remote work, improve work-life balance, and build an enviable corporate culture.  

Every lesson learned now by managers and supervisors strengthens their ability to weather the next crisis.