While much has been written about the immediate pandemic-related challenges, it’s important to apply the lessons learned as many prepare for the future of work.
With this in mind, the Cisco report covers specific lessons that have emerged from the data gathered from COVID-19 experiences. The lessons highlight particular changes in mindset, attitude, direction, and behavior that will be particularly important.
74% IT and business leaders said their business will in some ways emerge stronger from the crisis. While the first half of 2020 was among one of the most tumultuous times in modern history, nearly three-quarters of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: despite the challenges, our business will emerge stronger in some areas from the current crisis.
This optimism is indicative of the ingenuity and innovation organizations have shown. It has been incredible to see how many initiatives around digital transformation and other forms of modernization scheduled for the medium to long-term, or deferred because of other competing priorities, have been accelerated.
Flexibility is here to stay
Respondents say flexibility is here to stay, and it will benefit organizations as well as employees. 49% of respondents indicated that flexible working hours are here to stay. And when it comes to hiring, 50% of our survey respondents said increased remote work would lead to a more inclusive and extended talent pool.
Businesses are realizing that work can happen anywhere, productivity isn’t lost, and an expanded talent pool will enable stronger and more capable work teams.
Employee wellbeing and work-life balance
The vast majority of managers said they have increased their emphasis on employee wellbeing and work-life balance. 87% of managers who responded to the survey said that as a result of the pandemic they increased emphasis on employee wellbeing and work-life balance.
Of those managers reporting the increased emphasis, 47% said they see this being maintained over the long term.
The pandemic as a catalyst for major change
Study participants said they viewed the pandemic as a catalyst for major change. This newfound focus and priority on health and wellbeing is a silver-lining during what is otherwise a sobering period of time.
The obvious question remains as to whether this mindset shift can withstand the test of time, but participants were optimistic that workplace culture is transforming in the right direction.
“From a business agility and resiliency perspective, it’s important that we learn and adapt quickly from this experience,” said Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Marketing, Cisco‘s Collaboration Group. “You never know when you’ll need to pivot, and we’ve seen that technology like Webex is playing a key role.”