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The path to the « New Normal »

6 min.

new normal

The global Covid-19 pandemic has paved the way for a new organization of work. Over the last two years, organizations have been faced with the rules of social distancing as well as the use of technology to maintain their activities. Since then, management has been reinvented, processes have been modernized and industrialized, and inter-departmental data sharing has become more data-driven. So going back to “the world before” is not an option: a whole new way of collaborating has been created to reenchant work around a new normality.

What is “New normal”?

Whether we speak of the “post-world”, the “new normal” or the “new normal”, these terms mean the same thing. We are talking about a completely new way of working, which has been imposed on us (health risks due to the Coronavirus) and which has completely changed mentalities and organizations.

There is no going back, since all organizations, all sectors, all professions have had to redefine their way of working. Individuals have seen their personal and professional lives transformed. This is a structural change, not just a short-term one.

Nevertheless, there is one sector that was (in a way) ahead of the curve. The digital industry, IT and new technologies have been forerunners in new work organizations for a few years now: flexible (staggered) working hours, partial or 100% teleworking, access to shared offices (coworking), agility in project follow-up, internal data shared worldwide and secured…

All companies have not had the choice to adapt to these new uses, but today they must more than ever modernize and industrialize their internal processes to give life to the New Normal within their organization.

According to a study conducted by Atlassian – software editor for development and project management – 76% of professionals prefer to avoid the office, feeling more focused on their projects.

It is also 47% of professionals worldwide who say they are more productive working from home, according to a study by Kentik – network monitoring software.

A bilateral flexibility

The new normal is not only a question of commitment on the part of employers. The prerequisite is mutual trust with employees so that the new work organization is sustainable.

Between 2020 and 2022, the crisis has created different emotional phases:

  • Exhilaration with the implementation of many new organizational features,
  • Trauma with brutal changes in work methods with an organization experienced as dislocated and disorganized
  • Disillusionment with a return to near-normalcy when the world around us has been transformed.

Each organization must fundamentally rethink the future of its employees and its business. Proposing and structuring concrete actions favor transparency and involvement of its entire ecosystem.

These new ways of interacting leave room for two-way flexibility: where work/life balance is at the heart of the concerns. The (real) values of the company are back in the spotlight: fulfillment, giving meaning, happiness at work, time management, societal involvement.

Hybrid work

The health context linked to Covid-19 has transformed the work habits of the structures. They have had to innovate in their operations to remain competitive in the era of work hybridization.

What is hybrid work? 

It is simply the possibility for employees to work from anywhere in the world with remote access to the tools they need on a daily basis to carry out their missions.

For Aiman Ezzat – President of Capgemini – hybrid work has transformed the business of the ESN (Entreprise de Services du Numérique) to the point of having this new organization accepted by their clients: “In general, teleworking means that an engineer sitting in Toulouse can work on a project in Germany or a project in Paris.

How to organize hybrid work in your company?

All you have to do is digitalize your processes! Not so simple!

The challenge lies in change management, team support, collaboration, business solution interfaces, remote workstations, and productivity measurement.

But the key to success is to listen to your teams. Not all individuals are ready to accept telework: isolation, lower productivity… The question of well-being at work is essential to the success of work hybridization. Digitalization and personalization go hand in hand.

Why has this become an “employer brand” standard?

Over the past two years, recruiters have adapted to the health regulations, making it easier for them to access talent residing anywhere in France or Europe.

On the candidate side, this new possibility has even become a new normality, almost imposing itself on companies.

According to a study conducted by GoodHire – publisher of an employment background check solution – 45% of employees say they might leave their job if returning to the office full-time becomes mandatory.

Shared and connected space

Connected spaces have seen a sharp increase during the health crisis. Indeed, it has become a norm to not go to the office. But working from home is not necessarily a plausible solution for everyone. The solution, coworking spaces! Coworking spaces are popular with startups and allow employees to have an equipped, quiet and collaborative workspace.

Coworking spaces are located all over the world, which opens the borders of what is possible. Based on a hybrid work model, the connected spaces allow to meet the professional expectations while offering more diversified opportunities and without location constraints.

Beyond coworking spaces, an evolution of trends is also felt in the design of the connected office. A concept that encompasses the physical work space, i.e. the office and the building. As well as the tools made available to the employee. An intelligent space set up to simplify life. The heart of the connected office is the data. Indeed, many intelligent buildings are equipped with artificial intelligence IoT (internet of the things) which allows to interact object and places with internet and other use of data.

Changes in the way of working that will remain in the mores long after the health crisis, the post covid era is therefore about flexibility and adaptation. It’s time to take a step back from the way we work, to review our organizational culture and to adapt to the new demands that are emerging.