Adapting to change in a post-Covid world

Paul Taylor, Partner and Location Head of DAC Beachcroft Leeds

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world, and although restrictions have been lifted, businesses across the region are continuing to adjust to a new period of change.

Over the last 18 months, many firms have strengthened their resilience and addressed the challenges resulting from the pandemic.

While long-term decisions may still be pending for some, businesses will have already taken stock and will be trying to retain the benefits that have emerged from the pandemic.

It has been proven that working from home can work – and has many benefits.

However, some colleagues, for example due to their personality type or living situation, will also always feel far better supported when they are able to work in an office.

It is also hard to ignore the arguments for agile and open plan working spaces, where colleagues can collaborate effectively by absorbing information through osmosis.

Daily commute

For some people, getting to and from work is likely to remain a concern for some time, and I know from speaking to many of my colleagues over the last few months that some remain anxious about using public transport.

Also, one constant from all of those discussions is that none of my colleagues miss the daily commute into the office!

Inevitably as we move forward, there are some who might otherwise choose to work in an office that will remain working from their home, and others may be choosing to walk, cycle or drive to work, rather than taking public transport like they may have done previously.

I suspect that many businesses will want to provide colleagues with greater choice when it comes to their working arrangements.

This includes us here at DAC Beachcroft – our new Flex Forward approach, which was developed from colleague and client feedback, will allow colleagues to have more balance over where, how and when they work.

Our introduction of Flex Forward has been extremely well received in our business, and we are confident it will be embraced by our colleagues and clients alike as we move into the “new different”, whatever that may be.

Acceleration of innovation

However, if industries are to adopt greater working from home practices in the longer term, resourcing and additional training to support how this may impact inclusion, health and the wellbeing of colleagues must be a priority.

We need strategies to cover a whole range of things, such as; how will we welcome and on board new or returning colleagues and ensure they have all the support they need; how will we ensure our whole team is included and have a real sense of belonging; how will we communicate with our colleagues?

Another great opportunity that has risen from the pandemic has been the acceleration of innovation.

It has enabled us all to rethink how we support and work with our colleagues, to find new and innovative ways to service and engage with our clients, and to grow our businesses in more agile ways.