Over the past year and a half, words like “agile” and “flexible” have become commonplace at work. Teams have needed to show these characteristics to succeed during the pandemic. As businesses continue to navigate toward the next normal, you may wonder what that looks like at your company.

While this new phase will look different for every workplace, it can help to reflect on what you have learned and where you want to go next. For Allegra Keith, a VP at Daily Harvest, moving into the next normal means applying four core lessons. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Keith’s lessons and offer her suggestions on how to thrive in a pandemic-era workplace.

1. Lead with your values. Your team may be starting a hybrid schedule or continuing with remote work. Or, your team may be returning to the office full time. However you approach the next normal, Keith says it’s important that your team members know what you stand for. This means that instead of offering perks that don’t really matter, look for ways to create a truly fulfilling culture. For example, instead of providing a fully stocked fridge, consider offering a more flexible schedule.

2. Co-create with your team. As you move into the next normal, make sure everyone at your company is involved and provides feedback. Give choice and flexibility when you can, advises Keith. You can co-create with your employees in several ways, including one-on-one conversations, pulse surveys, focus groups and all-hands meetings. When things feel uncertain, it can help to give employees a sense of control over their jobs and how they work.

3. Be intentional about what you put on the calendar. Remember scheduling Zoom happy hours in the early days of the pandemic? Or scheduling back-to-back meetings to replicate the quick one-on-ones from the office? They may have made sense then, but they probably don’t work so well now. In the next normal, Keith encourages managers to reassess how their teams work. Maybe instead of an annual company retreat, you take a full week off of Zoom and Slack and allow people time to make progress on deep work. Make it known when you are testing a new way of doing things, advises Keith, and let others know how long you want to try it. Then, ask for feedback. If something works, stick with it. If not, let it go.

4. Normalize PTO. When your team members are on PTO, do they feel compelled to check email or Slack? In the next normal, Keith says it’s important for leaders to encourage their employees to step away and recharge during their PTO. Make sure everyone is accountable by creating a clear out-of-office plan. You could also cross-train some of your employees so your team can function when people go on vacation.

Your workplace many never look the same again—and this can be a good thing. Use this time of adjustment to reinforce your company’s values. Talk with your team members and give flexibility when possible. When people are out on PTO, remind them to take the time to truly recharge. Your team and your company will reap the benefits of these “next normal” changes.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Allegra Keith is the VP, head of strategic planning, talent and culture at Daily Harvest.