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Thoughts on the "New Normal" -- Krystena Sterling, July 2021

Sunday, July 11, 2021 4:12 PM | Carol Emmett (Administrator)

As I sat down to write the President’s Message and consider all the essential communications with my colleagues during this time, the one thing that kept popping up in my inbox were articles and memos about returning to work. If you are anything like me, I look back at the last year with happiness and exhaustion because of how resilient and nimble our workforces and organizations have been throughout this pandemic. It has been a rough ride, which genuinely has changed so many lives. I cannot help but wonder what impact it will have on our future of work. This brings me back to focusing on today and the current issue, which is returning to work.

What does return to work look like in your organization? In many organizations, it means that people can flex their time and work part-time at home. Some individuals now have flex workstations and have given up their offices and cubicles. Some are going back to the office full-time, and yet for others, it means staying as a teleworker permanently. All of these options and changes cause yet again uncertainty, change, and many emotions for our workforce and ourselves.

Deloitte has offered some insight into how to look at re-entry into the workforce. Their recommendations are to build agility for the future: Learn from the lessons of ramping down and leverage these to manage future requirements, look at your operating plan, and especially look at your planning for employee experience. One of the biggest tips I have heard not just from them, but reading in numerous articles is that an effective return to work will be highly dependent on how the employees engage with their leaders. The level of transparency and communication which leaders are providing during these uncertain times will make a difference. This was a not-so-subtle reminder that how we handle uncertainty and change as leaders are critical to the outcome, a lesson that can be a good reminder.

This advice reminded me of the critical aspects we do well in OD, leadership development, coaching, and consulting.  These aspects are assisting with change and growth. Once again, your skills and talents will be called upon to help build the workforce back to a “new normal". I have no doubt it will be answered with excellent results.

As an organization, GOOD is also exploring how we are going to handle going back to the "normal".  We have heard your comments about in-person meetings and listened to the comments about the new format. We don’t know the answer quite yet, but we are committed to having some great conversations and doing some research on what will be the best options for our community as a whole.

As soon as we know more, we will share it with you. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them with us. We are always open to your feedback.

As you start to transition to your “post-pandemic new normal” work-life, I know you will do it with grace and skill. Remember, you can leverage your GOOD community for assistance and advice. This network is a wonderful community to share ideas and best practices.

Krystena Sterling

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