A workplace forgotten; a workplace redefined
Date: 09 December 2020: 10am – 11:30am
Content Focus Area: Futureshock: How has the workplace changed in unforeseen ways?
“The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace will probably still be with us for the foreseeable future. Like citizens in most countries, South Africans had to comply with different levels of regulations pertaining to a national lockdown that was implemented. Although most of these regulations have been relaxed by now, the initial lockdown required a rethink from employers whose normal place of work required employees to work at an office or a site in significant numbers. Certain critical industries could continue operations subject to strict health and safety protocols. However, there were some industries that were not allowed to operate the way they used to before.
How has the workplace changed? Some of the most significant changes include the change of the workplace itself and remote work, the use of technology, the leadership experience, the importance of teams and performance management.
According to PwC’s COVID-19 CFO Pulse, 52% of organisations who responded to the survey indicate that they are considering remote work as a permanent feature for roles that would allow it, while 52% of respondents want to improve the remote working experience. The mobility requirements of the new workplace have also asked questions about organisations’ ability to leverage technology in order to not only help employees function effectively but also to support operations and communication during remote working.
The importance of effective leadership during a crisis has also been highlighted. In leading others effectively within a complex world, the Six Paradoxes of Leadership as proposed by Blair Sheppard suggest that leaders should be able to balance and mitigate various contradictions. This approach to leadership may not only be applicable to the current work environment but may also prove relevant in a post crisis world.
In addition, the ability of leaders to leverage the benefits of technology in order to lead teams effectively while working remotely has probably placed additional demands on leaders in the workplace. This includes supporting team members in terms of their well-being, keeping teams engaged and ensuring that the camaraderie does not get lost while working remotely.
The new workplace has probably also affected the way performance can be measured and managed. Initial global concerns about performance levels while working remotely were dispelled, suggesting that working remotely would not necessarily affect performance and productivity negatively.
The workplace has been changed significantly. It will require rethinking the leadership experience, the way organisations operate as well as how individuals and teams respond to change.
1. Gaining understanding of the Six Paradoxes of Leadership and understand the relevance/application thereof in the workplace.
2. Becoming aware of the importance of the interaction between human and technology in the workplace of the future and applying this understanding.
3. Understanding the significance and impact of change in the workplace and applying this understanding.
Mr Paul Kloppers
PwC: Consultant & Senior Associate
Paul Kloppers is a Senior Associate with PwC Advisory and has been working the HR field for more than 17 years. His experience encompasses assessments and assessment tool accreditation training, facilitation and constructing workplace surveys. Paul also has a keen interested in technology.
- 2018 Career Services Forum (NMU) – Future World of Work (30 – 50)
- MC at PwC Port Elizabeth Digital Skills event – Oct 2019 (approx 30)
- Several recent internal training sessions on similar topics within PwC (50 – 200 approx)