So much has happened since March of 2020! 2 years later it is important to understand that there is no "going back to the way it was" any longer. The world has been through a massive shift in the last 2 years and in America, in particular, we have been through the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and the related ongoing racial reckoning that is needed, the threat of Covid death, and knowledge of people that have died from Covid, as well as now the unjust war against Ukraine that keeps the world and global economy in unsettled territory. The future of small business work is different and will continue to be different than in 2020!
There is no going back.
What we have gone through the past 2 years has fundamentally changed us and caused a "reset".
Now, individuals, leaders, and employees are wanting a new way forward.
Let's dive in and learn more about this and the key areas businesses need to be aware of including the 3 P's....
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Work has fundamentally changed. The "great resignation" is a result of a the lack of fulfillment workers had in the office prior to the pandemic combined with the total "reset" of life and work during the pandemic, resulting in workers wanted a new way forward. No longer is salary the only consideration. Employees are living integrated lives and want more meaning in their work.
I group the three key priorities that businesses need to keep in mind the 3 P's. People, Profits, and Planet.
There was always and will always need to be a focus on profitability for businesses. That has not changed in the future of small business work but it needs to be done with a framework that also contributes to the betterment of people (personal/mental/physical/community) and the planet (environmental and peace initiatives). Businesses are no longer on the sidelines. Governments have shown they struggle to implement change so businesses have to be the change agents and when they are their team stays with them and is made alive with their contributions. Let's dive into the key work changes that small businesses need to keep in front of them.
Over the past few years, many business owners have changed their business model to adapt to the worldwide pandemic and technological advances. As part of this change, businesses have downsized their offices. Luckily, technological advances mean that employees are now able to work remotely from home. The future of small business teams relies heavily on flexible working conditions and communication. Below are some of the key areas to focus on to support this.
Managers in the future of small business work need to be more than just a “people person”, instead they must be able to effectively communicate and lead virtually. Businesses need to ensure that the management team can adapt to new technology and remote work situations. This may require additional training, to ensure they are navigating remote management duties well. Leadership communication is key in small business teams, as all members must work well together.
As hybrid and remote work schedules are becoming the new normal, communicating your business vision and mission is key. All employees should be on the same page and understand what the business goals are. In the new future of small business work, businesses should utilize video conferencing tools to hold meetings and communicate effectively.
Working in a small business team comes with a variety of challenges, especially to do with mental health and stress. These issues are often exacerbated when working remotely. Therefore, it is important for your business to focus on the health of your employees. By offering additional support, and health perks, your employees will be happier, healthier, and more productive. In the office, consider offering access to healthy meals and snacks while encouraging regular breaks. For remote workers, consider offering an allowance for ergonomic chairs or keyboards to improve the home office environment.
Businesses should strongly consider offering flexible hours and health coverage for at-home workers. Many of those working remotely are also managing caregiving duties and appointments that come with this. The more accepting your workplace is of the needs of your employees, the happier they will be. The happier employees are, the more productive they will be. Look into ways you can support the work-family balance for your employees.
Working remotely for most employees offers a sense of freedom and flexibility. However, if managers try to micro-manage their remote employees, productivity can drop. The best way to manage a remote team is by simply assigning tasks with due dates. Doing this ensures each employee is doing the work they need to in a reasonable timeframe. Additionally, by allowing workers to choose their own hours, they are often more productive. Any team meetings, streams, client calls, and other set events should be put on a shared calendar so employees are aware of them.
The future will consist of smaller teams; even teams of one that collaborate with fellow trusted solopreneurs. We will also see more remote, flexible, and elastic (flexing in size/scope depending on projects and other variables) businesses. The future is mobile with no fixed workspace and characterized by freedom, fluidity, and like-minded collaboration.
Ok, that's a quick overview. Which of the 3 P's stood out to you? What does your business need to begin to do to address this and what steps will you take this quarter and within the next year?
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