The Sheffield Re-Imagining Work Survey is a bespoke system designed to kick-start the data gathering process within your organisation. It will collect valuable information about the important perspectives, experiences and learnings of employees, managers and leaders, gained throughout the different stages of the Covid-19 crisis. This information will enable organisations to reflect on approaches to work, collaboration, communication and support, that will help craft an unpredictable and dynamic future. Get in touch to start your organisation’s re-imagining process in the most effective way.

The emergence of the Covid-19 crisis and the onset of restrictions, social distancing practices, regulations and lockdowns, across New Zealand and the world, have dictated a sudden and unavoidable change to work, the workplace, and workforces. To put it simply, the world of work has been seriously disrupted by Covid-19. However, in New Zealand, having now emerged from restrictive measures and lockdowns, there is a natural change in worldview and orientation; a shift in perspective from the focus on today, which was necessary for an effective response to an emerging crisis, to looking to tomorrow.

We are seeing change across organisations; from change in organisational culture by shifting social/psychological contracts and expectations around trust and wellbeing, to strategic and operational changes in the form of physical workspace differences, adaptive business models, and organisational strategic positioning. These changes are essential for entities to survive and thrive in the wake of a crisis. However, in order to succeed, change processes must be informed by relevant experience and tangible data from all sectors of the organisation.

For many organisations, the biggest question related to future workforce strategies revolves around whether some of the practices deployed in response to Covid-19 should be permanent. Operational practices such as working remotely and more flexibly, and emphasising virtual and technological capacity for teamwork, collaboration, and client and customer interactions, have opened up novel avenues of business, or given rise to increases in productivity, engagement, and capability.

For leaders and employees, organisational expectations have shifted dramatically. Adaptation to a new environment, while maintaining a level of efficacy, confidence, and productivity, will become a criteria much sought after. Furthermore, leadership competencies relating to emotional intelligence, empathy, trust, communication, and coaching will become significant competencies in the ‘new’ workplace.

It is important to capture the experience of the organisation in a systematic, methodical and unbiased way that allows for data-led decision-making as we face an uncertain future.

So, what do you do now?

The Sheffield Re-Imagining Work Survey is a tool specifically designed to facilitate a process of reflection. It is crafted to engage each member of the organisation as active partners in its co-creation. It collects and analyses data pertinent to key areas of employee and leader experience across all stages of the national and organisational Covid-19 response, as well as capturing people’s visons and preferences for the future. The broad domains of the survey include:

Experiences of Returning to the Office

Emerging from the Covid-19 lockdown has been a varied experience for many. While some have gradually returned to working in the office or on site after working remotely, others have only been able to return to some level of productive work after being unable to work at all through lockdown. Whatever the case, work and the workplace look much more different now than they did. Employee’s readiness and comfort in working on site, as well as the benefits and challenges involved are important to consider.

Experiences of Working Remotely

The pandemic has seen an unprecedented number of workers move, almost immediately and without training or preparation, from traditional on-site work arrangements, to working remotely. Having both positive and negative impacts on work, productivity, teamwork, engagement, and wellbeing, the benefits and challenges experienced by staff and leaders are important to capture in this process of reflection. Working remotely has presented notable changes in the demands and expectations of employees roles, including their self-efficacy, engagement, and need for support and development. Similarly, managers have seen a change in the leadership competencies that are required in a more dynamic environment. Capturing these perspectives will also help to inform the future.

Organisational and Role Changes in the face of Covid-19

As a result of business disruption, employees are now facing changes in their responsibilities and how these are structured. The importance of clearly communicating organisational changes, as well as the ‘why’ behind them, has become crucial in setting new expectations. Clarity, transparency, and involvement in this process can foster trust, buy-in, and ownership. Contrastingly, failing to do so can lead to anxiety and alienation.

Visions of the Future

Developing future workforce strategies must become a co-creative process that includes all members of the organisation. As such, it is important to invite and consider a range of expectations, visons, and preferences of the future of work, in every respect.

The Sheffield Re-Imagining Work Survey provides a platform for comprehensive and systematic reflection. It is the first step in planning a recovery process that will allow your organisation to learn from recent experiences, meet the uncertainties of the future and address the changing demands on the workforce as strategically as possible. Get in touch to start your organisation’s recovery process in the most effective way.

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