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The Future of Work: The Now Normal

Rachel Reed
8/20/20 10:57 AM

Months into the global Coronavirus pandemic, it’s clear that workforce trend predictions like digital transformation and agile methodology have been accelerated–virtually overnight. Business leaders have worked to adjust and readjust to combat unpredictable economic fallout time and time again for the last five months. Organizations paused, strategized, and adapted to cultivate a “new normal.” Employees faced the disorientation of balancing home, family, social, political, and work dynamics of life, some of which have collided, combined, or collapsed. Both have exercised an adaptive, resilient mindset despite continuous unpredictability. 

While some organizations are aligning the future with long term and various forms of remote work (Google won’t reopen offices until summer 2021 and Facebook predicts a 50% remote workforce within the decade), the future of work doesn’t look different just because of increased percentages of remote workers, in fact, remote work has been on the rise for years, and pre-pandemic predictions reflected that it was just the beginning. The future of work looks different because companies have endured a grueling test in agility. There will not be a “new normal” because normal has yet to be defined. The new normal is better characterized as the “now normal.” Being that change is an inevitable and capricious force, the ability to lean into disruption is the secret weapon for success now and in the years to come. 

An agile mindset can positively affect employee engagement. According to Gallup, “when workers perceived their company to have the mindset and the tools and processes of an agile culture, they're more likely to believe that their organization is perfect for customers, that their company is ahead of the competition, that the company's financial future is secure, and that their employer is successful and growing.”

When it comes to talent, the ability and willingness to learn will become increasingly valuable. As methodology, structure, and communication continue to evolve, a collective flexible workforce skilled in learning and change will be critical.

While nothing at all seems normal, and it seems that it never will be again, the workforce is resilient. Take care of your teams, cultivate learning, adopt agile, and know that what’s right now is the new normal, and we’re in it right now. 

Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior in the Workplace 

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