by John Knight

Legacy projects usually originate from long-term learning and assessing many options to select the best fit. In the past two years, however, both in our working lives and our private lives, we have had change and transformation thrust upon us, without much opportunity for discussion or input. As we emerge from the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, what exactly are the lessons we’ve learned from Covid – and what legacy projects are we keeping, knowing what we know now?

Home truths

The most obvious – and initially most extreme – of the changes to working practices, was the introduction of working from home. But in fact, flexible working is nothing new and many office-based staff have been adopting a more ‘hybrid model’ (as it’s now come to be known) for many years. The advances and improvements in communications has meant that more and more people have been able to connect with colleagues remotely. Work-life balance is so important to people these days and anything that can contribute positively to maximising efficiency and also time spent with family – for example, by dispensing with a time-consuming, costly and environmentally unfriendly commute – is seen by many of us as something that should be adopted, encouraged even, going forward.

Healthy mind and body

Myriad health aspects have also been raised by the government’s pandemic response. Mostly, provisions such as the need to wear masks in the workplace (and on public transport and shops) are one aspect of the pandemic that hasn’t stuck in most situations. However, in medical settings it’s a different story – in locations such as GPs’ surgeries, hospitals, clinics and dentists for example, masks are still in place as a requirement, hopefully making them an even more secure place, when it comes to the transmission of all airborne viruses. But the need to ensure the mental wellbeing and health of all staff members across sectors has really come to the fore during the last two years. The importance of taking into account employees’ mental health has been highlighted as an area where discussions need to be ongoing. Working from home, to use an easy example, doesn’t suit everyone. Interaction with work colleagues in the office may be the only ‘socialising’ some people take part in, in their daily lives. When it comes to legacy projects, it’s important that the needs of everyone is taken into consideration, rather than insisting on a ‘one size fits all’ policy.

Social lives

Working from home has also made all of us us look more closely at our own communities and made us more aware of the spaces we live in. Social services and social care have been highlighted as areas that suffered greatly during the pandemic, for a variety of reasons – from the feelings of isolation for some people, to the way visiting and other aspects were impacted, both for those in care and those visiting their loved ones. There’s a continued need to make sure everyday interactions take place for vulnerable people. Looking forward, we must ensure that no one feels the isolation of being forgotten about or left behind. This inclusivity and sense of togetherness must be something that endures, post-pandemic.

Organisations need to adapt their work model to ensure this they come up with an efficient and productive way of working for everyone. If you’d like to talk to us about any of the impacts of the pandemic on your organisation, and where change and transformation can be implemented, then get in touch with us. With our years of experience in change management, we can work with you in developing a future-work model which will create a successful and productive future hybrid workplace.