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The new normal

Working in a 1.5 meter economy

Even though restrictions regarding COVID-19 will be imposed when possible, as long as there is no vaccine, an economy of 1.5 meters will be maintained. How the new way of working will look like is still a question, but we do know one thing for sure and that is that it won’t be the same as before. This makes the COVID-19 virus an unexpected but very impactful "disrupter" on the future of work in a broad sense. For example, digitalization of the way we work has made a huge step in a very short time. It is expected that this will also affect the adoption of AI, Robotics, Cloud Computing and IoT.

A sustainable future

Despite that working from home is encouraged where possible by many organizations and the government, we are working on the implementation of ‘going back to the office". How do you as an organization respond adequately to the new normal? Have you already adapted your technology? And how do you guarantee the safety of your employees? As the new normal is also unknown territory for PwC, we have continuously conducted client conversations and also did research on various aspects regarding the new normal. Moreover we’ve recently published an analysis of the costs and benefits of working from home. Furthermore we investigated the experience of employees in this new way of working. In short, we will continue to research this topic for the time being as it’s the time to have an overview on what is needed for a sustainable future. Our broad expertise within PwC can offer you guidance, by starting with sharing insights and best practices regarding new normal challenges and opportunities. .

Preparing employees for the new normal

From a financial point of view, adapting to the 1.5 meter economy is urgent. To get insight in the spatial and employment conditions that need to be optimized as quickly as possible, it is important to offer employees safety and to prepare them for a different way of working. When reinventing the workplace, it is good to take into account that employees differ in the experience and attitude towards returning to work.

Results New Normal Quiz

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis we’ve had to change where, when and how we work. Seeing that work is still affected by this crisis we wanted to see how employees have been responding to these changing circumstances and adapting to the new normal and returning to work. Over 1000 respondents participated in our new normal quiz and told us what they thought! Read here the results and also the new normal personas to find out more about them!

A people-focused approach

In addition to the technological impact on the current way of working, we also expect that some of the space and physical adjustments will influence the return to the workplace. Understanding the need for workspace and working conditions that need to be optimized are extremely important to provide employees with a sense of security and prepare them for a different way of working. Safely returning the right employees at the right time requires a people-oriented approach. Set up new ways of working that create efficiency and offer flexibility and test whether the employee experiences this as well.

Whether new ways of working are actually effective Theo can be inferred from behavior and experience. The approach must pay attention to the necessary support that leads to responsible behavior and stimulates people to observe the safety rules. Implementing just only security measures is not enough. Coach your leaders to improve the well-being of their people and encourage them to learn about new leadership styles that promote team dynamics and social cohesion, for example through the use of enabling leadership based on empowerment and trust. Show your employees that you think it is important to make the work environment safe, which enables them to have confidence in the leadership and thereby act as effectively as possible.

To retain talent in the post-Covid world while controlling costs, consumer-oriented companies must carefully engage their workforce in reopening businesses or stabilizing operations. Communication about safety and transparency about policy become important in meeting expectations and maintaining trust. The needs of the employee in the context of returning to the workplace are not the same for everyone.

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Contact us

Debby Jannink

Debby Jannink

Partner Change & Leadership, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 394 98 21

Bas van de Pas

Bas van de Pas

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 263 83 99

Pieter Smit

Pieter Smit

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)63 079 74 57