Renew, not resume

The end of this year’s Catholic liturgical calendar seems to coincide with a holiday season where everything is going back to normal. It has been more than two years of the pandemic, and at least, the light at the end of the tunnel has never been so brighter. As we in the field would say, “back to business as usual.”

However, wouldn’t it be such a wasted opportunity to just go back to our old practices before the pandemic? I offer three questions for reflection as we hopefully truly move towards the post-pandemic era.

First, what old practices and work norms can we dispense with? The pandemic has been an opportunity for numerous workplaces to radically experiment with work setups. In the course of these experiments, we stumbled upon work arrangements that can replace the old ones. It is possible (or even preferable) for some industries and sectors to not require employees to come to work every day. There are time, personal energy, and monetary cost savings. Managers must be courageous in inquiring whether we can do away with old work habits that are not anymore viable in a more hybrid-oriented setup.

Second, what old practices and work norms can we revive? The pandemic has shown us that communal activities and cultivating a culture of belongingness cannot be effectively done only through digital setups. Teambuildings, informal gatherings, or simple get-togethers are some of the things we may have neglected and missed dearly during the pandemic. Facilitating human connections and interactions are important to invest in.

Third, what new ways of working should we consider given a more hybrid or omnichannel work setup? As we undergo yet another transition, it is important to open ourselves to change and embrace a mindset that allows for continuous piloting of improvements and work setups.

Hopefully, by pondering on these three questions for reflection, we collaboratively find answers that can make our workplaces more humane. The challenge for managers and organizations is to not merely resume but renew our way of doing business. Dare I say, the challenge is to renew our way of life.

Luke 23:35-43. Christ the King


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