The pandemic has been challenging to organisations, destabilising some and shuttering others. It has been a test of leadership, grit, and resilience at the highest level. Through the course of the pandemic, the most challenging aspect has been maintaining the employee morale and performance at a time when everyone is mentally distracted due to the crisis.
Striking the perfect balance between accomplishing the set business targets and operating business as usual has been taxing. Other challenges in the face of the pandemic have been identifying the right talent, upskilling, as well as restructuring the performance evaluation metrics across the organisation.
There is little doubt that the future of work will be a hybrid model – incorporating both the office and remote work arrangements, with the flexibility to roll out appropriate measures. Moving forward, employers have begun to sculpt new perspectives on collaborative work, the importance of building trust, and being adaptable. Flexible working arrangements are an integral part of the new normal.
Even before Covid, organisations were adopting more egalitarian and less hierarchical cultures. These companies recognised that top-down management and systems that treat some employees as superior to others lack agility and limit the potential contributions of employees in the lower rung of the ladder.
The pandemic has accelerated the move to flat organisational structures which are likely to succeed in the future. This is a model that is built on agility, simplifies internal communications, and enables fast decision-making. With power and responsibility evenly divided throughout the organisation, employees also feel deeply valued for their contributions.
Dealing with the pandemic has taught business leaders the importance of adaptability and its linkage to resilience. They have been pushed to reconstruct their organisation’s crisis operations while fundamentally reimagining strategies and business models. Critical skills that are vital to be adopted by top executives to manage the challenges presented by the pandemic include:
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Agile ways of working, including understanding of emerging technologies for productivity as well as innovation and creative thinking
- Emotional intelligence and ability to manage crises, communicate effectively and instill hope as well as remain calm under pressure
Burnout is not limited to top executives and extends to the entire workforce. Along with its economic impact, the pandemic had a largely invisible psychological impact on people. Not everyone could adapt to the uncertain period of isolation – especially the expatriate workers in the UAE who are often away from their families and now face additional travel restrictions.
To combat the hyper stress issue, organisations should recognise the often-unexpressed need for emotional support. Virtual engagement platforms are a powerful tool to help employees connect and communicate. Employers of choice are leveraging technology to foster connections.
- Burnout is not limited to top executives and extends to the entire workforce.
- Pandemic had a largely invisible psychological impact on people.
- Not everyone could adapt to uncertain period of isolation – especially expatriate workers in UAE.
- To combat hyper-stress, organisations should recognise often-unexpressed need for emotional support.
- Companies recognised top-down systems that treat some employees as superior to others lack agility.
Flat structures are built on agility, simplify communications, fast decision-making, distribute power and responsibility, make employees feel valued.