Common principles for the workplace of the future after Covid-19
Happy New Year to you all! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday with your loved ones. Even though coronavirus, lockdown and restrictions will no doubt continue to set their mark in 2021, the vaccine rollout means that, hopefully, we will soon be able to see a faint light at the end of the tunnel.
Although I'm not a virologist, a statistician or a fortune-teller, I’m cautiously optimistic. And without setting a specific date, I hope that, over the first six months of 2021, we can start to return to a more normal situation. I’m very much looking forward to that.
In the administration, we have been doing a lot of thinking about how we can use what we’ve learned from the corona lockdowns to rethink the conditions on our workplace when we start putting the restrictions behind us – which hopefully will happen in the course of 2021..
In the administration's management team (LEA), we have discussed what the various units have learned from this experience. The input I received last summer, and which I wrote about in my blog in June 2020, was also included in these discussions. Not surprisingly, working from home has been a major topic in the discussions that took place in your various units this autumn. Working from home was also a prominent topic in the feedback I received last summer.
A flexible workplace
It is my strong conviction that AU needs to make it easier than it was before Covid-19 for employees to do their work where it is most appropriate and provides the most value – for the individual employee, for the manager and for the unit.
We work on very different tasks in our different units. Some tasks require physical presence on campus, while others can be performed remotely. As individuals and teams, we are also different, and what works well in one place won’t necessarily work well elsewhere. So although we must have common principles, we must not create one-size-fits-all model for working at home in the administration. For this reason, I would like to encourage you to continue your discussions between staff and managers locally in your units, so that you can develop a model for working from home that works for your particular unit.
In addition to working from home, we also need to consider how AU as a workplace should be organised and what equipment is required to help us in our work. Among other things, we’ll look at how we can continue to develop the use of virtual meetings and events. We’ll also examine whether we will still need the same amount of office space on campus if more people are working from home. We’re very aware that any reduction in office space must not take place at the expense of the quality of the work environment.
We must take the best with us
Even though we’re starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel, we can still take this opportunity to learn even more from the Covid-19 restrictions. As you know, AU will remain in lockdown until at least 7 February.
In the administration, we’ll continue to learn from our experience. And before we return to more normal conditions, LEA will continue to engage in dialogue with employees to formulate a common set of principles for the workplace of the future that draws on what we’ve learned from the Covid-19 lockdowns. The principles will ensure that we apply the experience gained from the lockdowns to rethink the framework for our work, so that we take the best with us in our efforts to forge a good work environment and meet the needs and wishes that have arisen in the wake of an extraordinary period in which we have tested new ways of working.
As always, you are very welcome to contact me if you have any questions or comments about my blog post. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.