News / Own Your Life

Francisco Plaza
2 minute read
26 Oct 2021
7:58 am

New normal: The ‘Good old days’ are over

Francisco Plaza

These anxiety-ridden times have reminded us of the need to consider each other’s humanity.

Picture: iStock

Level 1. We all have a good idea how this will play out socially but what are the ramifications for business?

How will it affect our day to-day work flow and what systems will we have to put into place?

The conditions imposed upon organisations during the various lockdowns focused on digital interactions and finding new ways of connecting – ensuring continued delivery on our commitments to patients, employees, communities and stakeholders.

This also facilitated better work-life balance for our employees, which will continue to be a focus in the future.

While we remain positive, an organisation must be cognisant of the uncertainty, instability and disruption for our employees.

The first thing we did was make this “new normal” easier to navigate – we ensured everyone had adequate equipment and support for remote work, so employees working off-site could carry out their duties effectively and without frustration.

We’ve also scrutinised our human resources policies to accommodate employees’ changing needs. This includes adjusting the start and end of workdays, considering part-time work options and accommodating employee’s personal responsibilities outside of the workplace.

Topmost of our concerns is the mental health of our employees. We see them as more than their roles in the workplace.

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These anxiety-ridden times have reminded us of the need to consider one each other’s humanity.

The new way of doing things will not be a copy of “the good old days” before the arrival of Covid – and this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Online meetings, for example, are likely to remain a regular feature of our working days. This should be celebrated, as virtual meetings allow us more productive time, given that less of our time will be spent commuting.

We are also likelier to be in a better space to engage with others, if we haven’t been dealing with the frustration of traffic.

Despite the virtues of online meetings, I don’t want to suggest that face-to-face meetings will ever disappear, or, indeed, that they should.

Digital meetings will play a greater role than ever before – and they’ve proved to be effective in certain applications – I don’t think that anything can truly replace human interaction, in which multifunctional teams come together and work in the same space.

That’s essential for creativity. It’s where magic so often happens. Ultimately, I foresee a hybrid model developing between both solutions.

Whatever our decisions around the workspace and how we deploy our employees, our primary focus will remain to provide essential products to those in need.

  • Plaza is managing director, Janssen South Africa, makers of the J&J Covid vaccine