This Is What 2020 Has Taught Us About Working Life

As the year that never was comes to an end, you’d be forgiven for wanting to forget all about it. 2020 saw plans put on hold indefinitely, businesses cram years of digital transformation into mere weeks, and the office commute all but disappear. Phrases that didn’t exist pre-2020 (“social distancing”, “self isolating”, and “the new normal” to name a few) quickly became part of everyday vernacular.

But rather than pretending 2020 didn’t happen, actually dedicating some time to reflect on the past 12 months could be a more fruitful exercise. Not only will this help you process the year’s events, it also gives you a chance to focus on what you’ve learned and achieved during a very challenging time. For instance, many of us have swapped the physical office for the digital workplace in order to work safely from home. This is no mean feat, and we should recognise and appreciate our resilience and ability to adapt.

Here at Claromentis, we took the time to understand what we learned about working life as a result of the challenges of 2020. As it turns out, we learned rather a lot, and we’re taking these positive lessons with us into 2021. Here’s what 2020 taught us:

Internal communication can take many forms

With everyone working from home this year, office chit-chat by the coffee machine – for now at least – became extinct. So, like many businesses, we had to get creative in how we communicated with each other.

Our teams ramped up their usage of the internal communication tools on offer, including corporate social media feeds, instant messaging, video meetings, and good old-fashioned phone calls. With so much variation, we discovered that different team members prefer certain forms of communication more than others. For every instant messaging fanatic, there’s someone else who finds the constant “ping” of a new message frustratingly distracting. Some love a video meeting with fun filters and backgrounds, while others suffer from the dreaded “video call fatigue”. By giving our teams the autonomy to choose their ideal communication methods, people were able to work in a way that suited their strengths the most.

Supporting employee mental health is a priority

Supporting the wellbeing of your staff is absolutely vital, pandemic or not, and the impact of Covid-19 has certainly put employee mental health into the spotlight. Increased loneliness, higher anxiety levels, and low motivation are just some of the challenges that employees have faced this year as a direct result of the pandemic.

 

 
Some 65% of organisations are placing a high priority on employee mental health according to a survey by CIPD, an increase of 28 percentage points compared to a pre-Covid world. At Claromentis, we’ve boosted our employee mental health program by internally recruiting Mental Health First Aiders, who’ve been trained to spot the signs of ill mental health and provide support, as well as promoting awareness of the importance of mental health throughout the company.

Peer-to-peer recognition is an amazing motivator

As soon as our teams went 100% remote earlier this year, everyone suddenly started sharing their appreciation of one another more generously. Our intranet’s “thank you” widget doubled in usage this year compared to last, with more staff expressing thanks for their coworkers’ teamwork, moral support, or a job well done. Peer recognition on this scale was not something we planned; it simply grew organically as a result of less face-to-face contact and the desire to appreciate one another during a tough time. Employee recognition is a proven motivator and a key part of a successful company culture, and we’ve learned first-hand how powerful it can be.
 

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