Is remote working here to stay?
Date: 04 December 2020: 10am – 11:30am
Content Focus Area: Digital has gone viral: EAP implications for the rapid uptake of digital technology among workers over the national lockdown.
The future of work has been a distant and abstract concept for many but became a concrete reality overnight. The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the way we work into virtual reality. This created an enormous personal, economic, and social impact and has led to many firsts in the world.
In many cases it has not been smooth sailing and people are experiencing a pressured transition, especially where complex decisions need to be made quickly. When making decisions, people often default to using fast and simple shortcuts based on past experience and knowledge. However, this current unprecedented situation means that the mental models we use are not always helpful. A lack of preparation and the shift to remote working also has the potential to drive people towards feeling disconnected from, teams, leaders and organisations. This manifests itself in increased stress, fear, loneliness, anxiety and also affects productivity, resilience, learning and well-being adversely. Leaders are also under more pressure than ever to have a finger on the ‘pulse’ of their teams, and to make sure that their people feel supported and equipped in a challenging environment. This is a tough ask given limited bandwidth, preparation, and dealing with the unpredictable.
According to PwC’s CEO Panel Survey, conducted in June and July 2020, it seems as if the major forces that had already been shaping society and pressuring leaders to transform their organisations to new ways of working, have now been accelerated. CEOs plan to digitise core business operations and processes and add digital products and services. They further plan to develop a more flexible workforce and expand employee health, safety and wellness programmes.
Adapting to new ways of working may prolong the associated physical and emotional challenges. Without adequate time to digest and respond to these sudden changes, people are forced to shift priorities, manage additional responsibilities and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Companies will also need to combine their requirements of employees to be able to work remotely, with an equal commitment to ensure employees have the skills they need to manage virtual working environments as it may be unethical to place workers in new situations without assistance. With limited visibility of their team members, leaders are also seeking guidance around how best they can support their workforce and implement ethical remote workforce monitoring. There is a likelihood that most organisations are not culturally set up to function in this new reality. It may therefore be very important to ensure a strong and positive culture, one that demonstrates connection to and care for employees in every possible way.
We understand that this is an unsettling and challenging time in many businesses, with significant impact being experienced by the people. Our research provides insight into how organisations can support their employees’ well-being, without adversely impacting business performance. Further to this, it will become nonnegotiable to equip leaders to monitor team well-being proactively. We look forward to sharing research findings as well as some practical strategies to support individuals, teams, and leaders.
1. Display an understanding of relevant research
2. Understand the impact of the pandemic and remote working on wellbeing
3. Be equipped to apply practical and ethical strategies to support people, teams and organisations.
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Mrs Angelique Diedericks
PwC: Senior Manager
Angelique is currently a Senior Manager in the People & Organisation practice in PwC and is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), with comprehensive experience as a psychologist. She forms part of the New World New Skills task team within PwC South Africa and has recently worked on a number of assignments around the impact on people, systems and processes in remote working operating models, with a particular focus on, managing the impact of remote working on wellbeing and employee experience. Within PwC Angelique has access to the latest research, thought leadership and services that supports workforce wellbeing. Together with this Angelique has vast experience in the field of psychology and has worked in many different industries such as government services, private practice, consulting and training, which included opportunities to present to clients and conferences in relevant topics.
- Presented at PwC New World New Skills client event (2019)
- Presented at PwC New World New Skills online client event (2020)
- Presented at PSYSSA conference and ACSG conferences ( 2002 – 2017)
Contact number: 082 653 6778