A lot has been said about going back to normal, but I like to think that a crisis like this actually allows us to go back to better.
One of the books we sell here at DSC is titled Storytelling Can Change the World. In this book Ken Burnett, the author, talks about it only being possible to change the world with either a good story or a good crisis… Well, we are certainly experiencing a good crisis right now and it is important that we take the time to recognise any lessons that can be taken from 2020 – the year of the lockdowns.
It has been a long time since we experienced such a fundamental change to our working world. COVID-19 has seen organisations scrambling to make safe both their staff and the delivery of their services; with businesses and charities alike struggling to stay afloat.
If we look back through history, the last time the working world experienced such a monumental change came over 90 years ago when Henry Ford introduced a 40-hour week, creating the Saturday-Sunday weekend. This took off and since then, the five day work-week has defined a number of workplaces around the world.
For some managers and leaders over the last 90 years their main job has been to manage the attendance of their staff; using start and finish times as the barometer for performance.
‘We have been led to believe that keeping our staff present at work is enough to drive the organisation forward.’
With workforces around the globe now scattered through remote working due to COVID-19 we have the opportunity to build years’ worth of flexible working policy in a matter of months. If we choose to, we can use this time to shape the future of the working world that we want to see.
The charity sector leads the UK in flexible working and we are now seeing many of the changes made by charities being made by businesses in the corporate sector.
‘It is our responsibility to continue sharing what we have learned from promoting a culture of flexible working.’
At DSC we have been thinking about flexibility a lot over the past few years. Before COVID-19 we already had a member of staff working internationally and another working a modified four-day work-week. However, since COVID-19 all members of staff have been moved to the same modified work-week, with all of us working four longer days as opposed to five normal ones. All of these policies have been created so that DSC can support the wellbeing of staff whilst they adjust to recent changes.