How Smart Leaders are Adapting for The New Normal

The post-pandemic world is changing fast.
What is your vision for the future of your company?

It’s become ubiquitous: the conversations about which meetings could have been emails, the zoom fatigue, the ever-changing safety protocols of coming back to the office… Suffice to say, the past couple years have been challenging for us all. Luckily, several years ago here at CEI, we started leaning into new technology and created a series of tech-based experiences for corporate team building. Now, things are opening up and (fingers crossed) hopefully we’re at the tail end of the last wave of COVID. We’ll get back to in-person programming but it will be different. Employees are turning to their leadership to get some clear direction on what it means. The smartest leaders are paying attention to the new trends as well as the key concerns from their teams. As we move forward, what is going to be the “new normal” for us? While none of us have a crystal ball, there are a few certainties here that we can bank on in the short term:

  • Hybrid and remote work is here to stay
  • Virtual and hybrid meetings and events are going to remain the norm
  • People are recognizing the high value of a healthy work/life balance 
  • Mental health and self-care will be prioritized more than ever
  • People still require human connections, including in their business relationships
  • Uncertainty increases employee anxiety leads to burnout  
  • Employers need to find newer, more creative ways of keeping their teams engaged and motivated

That last point is absolutely essential to the success of the people who make it all happen – your team – and ultimately your entire business. Right now is the time to define your expectations, and give your team a roadmap to get there. Employees are looking to their leadership for direction and clarity. 

A recent study from McKinsey & Company outlines a lot of these issues and expands quite a bit on the specific concerns employees have about them (side note: we highly recommend reading it). The big takeaway is that most companies haven’t laid out a clear vision for what work will look like post-covid. While some vague communication is better than none, in order to really prevent burnout and anxiety, specificity and clarity of vision is required. 

So, your team is counting on you for clarity, leadership, vision… what do you do?
Here are some interesting trends that may help you shape that vision:

  • Employees prefer a more flexible working model
  • About a third of employees stated they would switch jobs if required to be on-site full time
  • Most employees would prefer a few days working at home every week
  • People with younger families overwhelmingly prefer the ability to work from home 
  • Workers are starting to focus more on flexibility, wellbeing, and compensation 

There’s much more depth and understanding to read about in the study, but this list is a good starting point for how you can set a clear path for your team’s success post-pandemic. 

Another key perspective is that this new paradigm requires a change in approach and more willingness to engage from the top. The biggest component of this shift is the focus on inspirational vs hierarchical leadership within remote and hybrid management. The other key factor is the drive to cultivate a healthy work culture and invest in the talent you have. We can help you band together and bond with your team during one of our fun, educational, or charitable events!

This may seem rather anomalous… because it is. There’s no cookie cutter solution to this problem and you need to dig in deep to determine the best course for your company, and what risks you’re willing to take moving forward. There are some keen insights on a number of these issues about “Reimagining the post-pandemic workforce,” with a lot of variables and considerations that can help shape your vision and direction. If there’s anything you can take away from us, it’s a plan to get everyone working together.

 Below are some ways you can help shift engagement in all directions: 

  • Cultivate and make space for informal interactions
  • Increase accessibility to leadership – open up new avenues of open communication
  • Inspire and engage as opposed to delegate and direct; be the role model of what you expect
  • Communicate clear direction and vision about the future of the company and its people
  • Create safe spaces to learn from mistakes and foster growth
  • Keep teams together, and help new teams strengthen their relationship to work better together
  • Invest in your teams and be invested in them

We really can’t stress that last point enough. When leadership is attentive and invested in their teams, the research is clear: teams will feel more inspired, be more motivated, produce higher quality work, and be more efficient. One of the best ways to do this is with team-building activities. These programs break down communication barriers, inspire and motivate, increase collaboration and strategic thinking, and foster higher employee satisfaction and retention. At CEI, we specialize in these kinds of events and activities, because we know that through fun and memorable shared experiences, your company will thrive.