Updated: Jun 5, 2020
By Dorelene V. Dimaunahan, MScM, CFE, CMA, CHRP
Workplace operations will be resuming within selected parts of the Metro, for selected industries. In this #NewNormal, it takes a lot of adjustments between management and employees because of the fear and trauma being faced by both groups.
Upon resumption of workplace operations, 3 key areas must be given attention to. These are also key aspects of organizational behavior, which are of great importance as we slowly adapt towards face the new normal.
Individual Level: Mental Preparedness
It is expected that many employees will be facing fear, stress and anxiety. This is especially the case for those who will still be taking public transport as means for going to and from the office.
It is suggested to begin the first day with prayers, huddles, meals and catch-up sessions to “break the ice” and set the tone for hope and positivity in the workplace, which are both very much needed. These workplace practices should also be done on a weekly basis as follow-through sessions, to help everyone achieve a better mindset as they start working. Of course, social distancing measures must be strictly followed.
Group Level: Emotional Support
Going back to the office has its pros and cons. Yes, it will be business as usual, wherein operations may be more difficult because of work that was left behind. On another note, being out of home is also an excitement for some, especially for workaholics. Flexible work arrangements will definitely be employed, resulting in a skeletal workforce. Nevertheless, talking to someone is still one of the best forms of releasing tension.
Let us remember that everyone is in need of emotional support because of the experiences each one has been through during the ECQ. Some may have lost a loved one or maybe going through post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Therefore, a lot of empathy is required. Other forms of emotional support, such as constant communication are key. Indeed, a smile is a “free” form of therapy.
Organizational Level: Cultural Re-adaptation
Each organization has its own unique culture. As hard as it may seem, the new normal requires that organizations need to adapt. Behavioral changes of various stakeholders such as employees, suppliers and customers are expected. It is suggested to adapt a supportive and participative culture at this point.
To set the tone right, it is suggested to re-open with a meeting, that has the following agenda:
Thanksgiving and Introductory Remarks
Check on everyone’s condition
Review of flexible workplace policies and employee schedules
Process flow for GCQ precautionary measures, prior to entering the workplace
“Open door” Policy
Following these points of discussion are usual work-related items, responsibilities and revised deadlines. Typical periodic meetings and follow-through sessions are still necessary.
Regardless of the company’s size, the workplace is expected to be disrupted at the beginning. However, if individuals, groups and leaders of the organization exert collaborative efforts to ensure a balanced workplace, in due time, the workplace will be able to surpass this temporary challenge. This is now the world of #BusinessAsUsual in the #NewNormal.
About the Writer:
Dorelene V. Dimaunahan, MScM, CFE, CMA, CHRP has been handling various business portfolios for 12 years, some of which she is a Director of and has held an Executive Position. She is also an author, a host/anchor and a faculty member of Ateneo De Manila University (John Gokongwei School of Management - Leadership and Strategy), De La Salle University (College of Business - Decision Sciences and Innovation Department), University of Asia and the Pacific School of Management (School of Management)
and Center for Culinary Arts.
As a consultant and mentor, Dorelene specializes in various entrepreneurship and management areas for small and medium-scale enterprises and social enterprises, such as but not limited to, business startup, setup and expansion, strategic planning, internal audit, and corporate governance, franchise management, organizational development, events/project/portfolio management, contract negotiations, human resources development, management accounting and financial analysis, market research, paralegal and government compliance work, systems documentation and process improvement, to name a few.