As the workforce chooses to work from home in the New Normal, there will be a significant trade-off with the traditional ways of social interactions. Previously, the workforce used to bond and share their aspirations and inhibitions with their colleagues in offices. This will significantly drop in the New Normal.
According to a Harvard Medical School article, there are several studies that have shown that people who have social support from family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer . The possibilities of unhappiness, loneliness, or in some cases even depression will increase as the traditional ways of social interactions become rare.
Hence, individuals and businesses will have to realize that social distancing and working from home don’t mean emotional distancing. Deliberate steps must be taken on individual and business levels to ensure the emotional well-being of the workforce.
Individuals will have to turn to physical exercises and meditation to remain calm and focused on their work and well-being. When faced with anxiety or stress, individuals’ families will have to lend support.
Lack of social interactions will have adverse impacts on how we collaborate and work together.
Post COVID-19, organizations will have to develop a digital workplace strategy that includes collaboration applications, security controls, BYOD, and network support . Investments will have to happen in developing effective collaboration ecosystems with Cloud, G Suite, Google Meets, and more tools. Businesses will have to establish best practices and train their workforce on the importance of healthy digital interactions. In addition to the physical infrastructure, organizations will also need to take care of the workforce’s emotional needs by introducing initiatives to cheer teams and reduce stress levels.
Organizations will also have to address the challenges to effective communication and sensitize the workforce on the importance of calm communication and collaboration.
Once the systems and infrastructure are put in place, in-person social interactions will be replaced by virtual interactions where they recreate the coffee breaks, happy hours, and office recreation programs. The human connections will continue, only digitally.