Workplace Management: Two positives to come out of the pandemic

  • Blog

Workplace management is unlikely to ever be the same again. But this is a good thing, says Cindy Meijboom, Head of People, Operations and Marketing at Eighty20.

 

The biggest positives to come out of the pandemic are the widespread adoption of Hybrid Working, and the increased awareness of, and focus on, employee mental health. Though neither of these are new – we’ve known about them in HR circles for well over a decade – the pandemic has been a catalyst for change. It gave companies no choice but to pay attention to them. And, as the world settles into a new state of normal, these two positives are here to stay. 

For most organisations, there’s no question of trying to go back to pre-COVID office-based work. And when it comes to mental health… Well, what has been seen cannot be unseen. Humanity has been through a collective trauma, and it would be downright irresponsible to pretend that we haven’t. 

The question is more about how to keep the positives of these two major changes. And how to do so without discarding the good parts of doing things the way we used to pre-COVID. At Eighty20, we’ve implemented a “2 days in – 3 days out” approach to how much time our employees spend in the office. The two mandatory in-office days are there to ensure teams meet and interact. The three work-from-home days are optional and employees who prefer it are welcome in the office any time. This approach helps our people preserve the downtime they came to enjoy during the pandemic – not sitting in traffic, for example. At the same time, the bad habit of never switching off, never disconnecting, that many people got into working from home is now easier to break.

We’ve noticed that people are opting to spend more time in the office than they are required to, and we think we know why. Firstly, as a data and analytics company, our employees are working at the forefront of data, analytics and technology. Being in the office together allows us to collaborate more spontaneously, solve challenges together more easily and share knowledge informally. This culture of sharing, asking for advice, and helping colleagues is key to a successful consulting company. And, as it turns out, it’s so much easier to work this way in person than online. 

When working from home, it’s easy for our people to get caught up in their own heads, their own code, and their own knowledge as they seek out solutions. And they’re clever people – they’ll find answers this way. But being in the office, hearing a different point of view or learning about someone else’s solution or preferred tooling helps our people work that much better, and they value it.

This engagement with colleagues is key to mental health as well. We all worried about the extroverts when the pandemic first started. And we thought that introverts would be in their element for as long as it lasted. Two years later, and it’s become clear that – introvert or extravert – human beings are social creatures that need interaction with each other. We’ve been fortunate at Eighty20 to have a culture of togetherness. Before the pandemic, our people often spent social time together – wine tastings, dinners, hikes, hackathons on the weekend, Rubik’s Cube competitions in their lunch breaks, 80Talks in which colleagues can pick any topic that interests them to present to the team. 

During the pandemic, we worked hard at keeping those social engagements alive by playing various online games together, including “pub quizzes” and virtual coffee breaks, as well as making our 80Talks virtual. While Rubik’s Cube competitions didn’t work so well in a virtual world, Scribblo has been such a huge hit that our people are asking us to keep it even though we can come back to the office now.

Some of you in more corporate environments might be thinking: “It must be nice to be able to play around at work instead of chasing deadlines all the time”. But our people don’t work any less hard because our culture encourages play and socialising at work. For us, the value of our approach is rooted in neuroscience. Our people do intense brain work – critically and analytically solving problems and analysing data. Their brains need a reset from time to time, an opportunity to have fun and breathe, if they are to do their best work. It’s better for our people’s performance, and for their mental health.

Whether you’re in an environment that has always supported mental wellbeing and flexibility for its people, or in one that’s just trying to get the hang of it in a brave new world, it’s important to remember that none of this is an HR issue. It’s a manager issue; it’s a team issue. And even thousands-strong companies can reap the benefits of hybrid working and remaining cognisant and supportive of employee’s mental health. HR’s responsibility is to manage performance through training and encouragement. Managers and teams must implement what they’ve learned.

So, we’re preserving as much of our pre-Covid culture as we can in a hybrid work environment, while keeping elements from our time in a mostly-virtual workplace that we know have served our people well. One thing we will not be bringing back is time. We have learned to trust our people – truly trust them – to deliver. The idea that they should start work at a certain time, stay at their desks (or online) until a certain time, and should have limited breaks has been proven false. And we shall not miss it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
* We hate spam and never share your details.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
* We hate spam and never share your details.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
* We hate spam and never share your details.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your details below
We will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your contact details and we will get back to you with more information.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Share the Eighty20 Happiness Diagnostic
Enter their details and we will send them a link to the diagnostic.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Yes, keep me posted!
Enter your name and email address, we will send you a notification via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020
Enter your email address
Enter your email address and we will send you a download link via email.
By downloading this report you agree to our terms and conditions.
Contact: +27(0) 21 461 8020