Are we on the verge of a new and different world? COVID-19 requires no introduction. From one viewpoint, while it has shaken the entire world, it has also led to innovations, and helped companies find better approaches of doing work. In just a couple of months, the working world has changed radically.
Businesses are currently embracing new ways of working like virtual office setups and remote working. Organizations had to switch to remote working almost overnight as governments executed lockdowns to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
It quickly became obvious that even after lockdowns are eased, everybody should become adaptable to a new normal as a new vaccine is still a year or two away.
Now, governments are opening up economies to prevent recessions and downturns. As individuals are gradually returning back to work with their masks on and social distancing enforced to ensure maximum safety, how safe and stable are their jobs as they re-enter their workplaces?
It is evident that the world of work will stay away forever to the “normal” we knew before the pandemic struck. The opportunity we now have to “reset normal” is one which we should not waste.
The pandemic has quickened the need to ensure that individuals around the world have the necessary technology skills and access to do their jobs and carry out their responsibilities. Even as few of the countries show signs of recovery and the number of new daily infections worldwide appears to have stabilized, some of the developed countries like the US has seen an unprecedented number of people file for unemployment and also reported feeling worried about losing their jobs.
The present picture is disheartening, and many parts of the world still have not felt the pandemic’s full effect. However, every disaster has its recovery period and recovery will come, so what should employees and the company be doing to ensure they can re-enter the workforce stronger?
While consistently working in office, some functional training might be skipped in spite of being significant due to mounting delivery pressures. At this time when a lot of industries might be taking a glance at dwindling operational volumes, it is an appropriate time to reassign a portion of the excess productive time for upgrading and redefining the team’s functional expertise.
An interesting element that has become apparent during this time of physical isolation and dependency on digital tools is the openness and creative strategies through which we can use available resources. Virtual classrooms have been accessible to us for some years now, however the necessity of these in organizational interaction has been highlighted through this period. This platform can be used for exchanging knowledge and information about new products and additionally newer developments through advancements within the product range and prepare client facing employees, clients and even vendors. These classrooms can have enormous spread accessibility, can be run with or without human trainers, allowing learners to undergo the training independently, whenever required.

This is also an opportunity to deploy soft skill training that would improve your communication skills of the workforce. Soft skills are a significant part of client confronting workforce and communication within the organizational hierarchy. These training elements help augment skills of interaction between team members, office etiquettes and decorum, compassion and leadership skills. Online programs can be systematically and efficiently developed to derive explicit goals from the programs. Invariably, Soft skills are not taught or applied in your academic curriculum and a good time to invest your time and commitment in cultivating them.

An employee feels valued and esteemed in an organization when specific programs are developed to help them achieve their personal and professional growth. In times like this when the environment forces one to feel gloomy and disheartened, these programs would not only energize them, but also equip them with success for what is to come. These objectives can be accomplished by ability building training and workshops that focus on career mapping. The employees can be prepared to take a glance at their career paths neutrally; helping them adjust their professional goals with company objectives; recognizing the required skills and competencies for the goals; and giving a view on the options of lateral opportunities etc.

An organization flourishes when the teams work together in perfect harmony. In spite of the fact that we are all physically isolated right now, this time gives us the perfect opportunity to let the teams connect with each other. It is likewise observed that teams are now more connected and show much more empathy while working with each other. Team building training can utilize digitally available tools to instruct the participants in conflict resolution, trust building, identify and achieve common team goals. These serious and genuine learning plans can be combined with interactive fun activities that connect team members with an opportunity for discussions and to know each other apart from work. This helps in building bonds past the workspace and can be accomplished through creating interfaces where activities can be done by teams collectively.
A multi-faceted approach that engages the key aspects of learning and development of the workforce will be enormously fruitful during these times. It is imperative to seize this opportunity to engage the workforce in meaningful learning which will last beyond this time and strengthen how the employees respond to difficult times and respond to emerge from this a lot more grounded, focused, engaged and aligned to the company objectives.

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