COVID changed the workplace, and that's OK. 6 tips for moving on

How COVID changed the workplace

How COVID changed the workplace

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This article is part of our 2021 Top Workplaces program. See a full list of winners here.

Nostalgia is a trickster. It will tell you how much better things used to be, all rainbows and four-leaf clovers. It’ll say everything will be better when the world goes back to how it used to be.

Nostalgia is wrong.

There will never be going back. We physically can’t, unless you have a secret time machine stashed somewhere. (If you have, let me know. I have a proposition.)

Look at everything we’ve navigated and endured. All those lessons learned and vital pivots we made. We’ve talked to people that have been launched out of the career they thought they were going to have and companies that had to drag their teams through a steep learning curve.

It’s easy for many of us to feel like we’ve barely made it. Every day seems to bring another layer to the chaos.

Let’s acknowledge what we’ve accomplished in spite of it. Most important, let’s prepare to keep marching forward.

How do you keep winning forward?

Don’t settle for “good.” Anything less than great isn’t going to help your organization recover. Boom or bust, it’s been stressful as the markets have thrashed all over the place. Give your employees the opportunity to rise to the occasion.

Don’t relax. Your people are tired and breaks are hard to come by, especially with the markets still unstable. Cascade your strategic plans down through the whole company to keep everyone on track and focused.

Don’t fear the unknown. COVID taught us that some pivots can’t be forecast. That’s a lesson we can take to heart without letting it paralyze anyone’s efforts. Set focus areas. Develop those goals. And most important: Execute!

Do prepare to pivot. Focus areas and goals may change for some (or all) individuals throughout the course of the year. Don’t set it and forget it. Managers should meet with their team members at least quarterly to review progress updates on all goals. Those dedicated opportunities to connect and adapt are invaluable.

Do give yourself quality tools. My grandpa used to say that half of doing a good job was having the right tools for it. Without them, things can get … messy. Time is wasted. Resources are down the drain. You deserve to have what you need to make your life easier and give your workforce the best chances for success. Remember that tools are more than gadgets and gizmos we give the employees to do a job. The mind is the most valuable of all tools. You have talented employees right now with a mind for coaching. Sharpen those tools.

Do start (or keep) coaching. Your employees will be more productive, engaged and invested through coaching. Get a system in place that will help you guide your performance management in a way that communicates what you need from them, empowers them to own their accomplishments, increases overall capabilities and tracks all of it throughout the process.

Gary Markle, chief catalyst of Catalytic Coaching Inc., is a speaker, consultant, author and business partner of Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is the survey partner for Top Workplaces.