It is an understatement to say that 202 was a disruptive year regarding business, healthcare, social norms, civil obedience, education, and the economy. Now that a new normal is starting to emerge, leaders need to keep looking ahead to how they should manage their teams moving forward. There is no going back to the status quo. That is certain.
The levels of unemployment in the hospitality industry skyrocketed as soon as restaurants and hotels became affected, seemingly overnight. Laborers, for the most part, had no choice but to continue in-person work throughout 2020. That was also true for first-responders and the front lines of the healthcare industry. The majority of the workforce able to retreat to their homes to work remotely were knowledge workers. Now that vaccines are rolling out and more businesses are opening up, the elephant in the room will be how to manage these employees moving forward, whether in-person or remotely.
There will be a high turnover rate throughout 2021. As the world recovers, there will be new inevitable opportunities presenting themselves to people who have had a lot of time contemplating the deeper meaning of life. Many people will be taking bolder risks to see what’s out there, as well as for deciding where they want to live when the next crisis hits. Many older leaders might consider early retirement, shifting the entire pecking order around. Leaders should be prepared for a period of adjustment and support their staff in any way possible. Their companies should woo teams that are a good fit to know they are valued and needed.
For the leaders who try to reclaim normality, they are going to fall behind. Going back to normal only works if normal still exists, and the old normal no longer does. Crisis is an accelerator, and time only moves in one direction. New habits have formed at this point, affecting everything from exercise to schooling and shopping. People are living a different version of their lives than a year ago. As a leader, your strategic planning should include the new world we are living in. The reality is that entire plans might need to be revamped in order to succeed in the new world. For many remote workers, this is now their new normal.