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Eight Ingredients of the New Normal

If you had to vote for the most overused phrase, right now, “new normal” would probably be a strong contender. It’s bandied about by pundits and commentators. Ministers hold it out as something we will shortly return to (how can you return to something new?!)

But what is it? What does the new normal look like? Specifically, what will it look like for UK workplaces? The following list of factors/changes are likely to feature in your new normality…

  1. Flexible working – Just to get the obvious one out of the way first… faced with a choice between temporary shutdown with furloughed staff and finding a way to make working from home effective, many businesses have done the latter. Expect to see much more remote working in the UK from now on.
  2. People-focused leadership – For many bosses and business owners, the pandemic was an unforeseen trial by fire. Those who have preserved their business without throwing the workforce under the bus are likely to be more convinced of the benefit of a collaborative, empowering approach to leadership.
  3. Innovation – If you’re surviving, it’s probably because you’re doing things differently. At such times, innovation is a survival strategy; continued, it can help you thrive too.
  4. Self-reliance and collaboration – With workforces and teams scattered, individuals have found ways to self-motivate and self-sustain, often encouraged by the necessity to devolve decision-making as far as reasonable in order to avoid gatekeeping and bottlenecks. In turn, newly-distributed teams have found new ways to keep in touch; not only through online replacements for team meetings, but also by finding new ways of working together.
  5. Tighter prioritising – Resources have been tight. Supply (and other) chains stretched. And with all the working at a distance, there’s arguably been a greater need for clarity on what’s important. Expect that clarity (or the workforce’s expectation of it) to continue.
  6. Technology – Remote working has pushed people into using new tools and technologies for messaging, information exchange, project management… You’re likely to continue using those apps that you’ve found useful, right?
  7. Digital transformation – Many companies, through choice or necessity, have gone (further) down the route of digitalising how customers access their goods and services. After a few months of lockdown and other measures, the market is more used than ever to buying online and getting deliveries to the door.
  8. Better planning – Specifically, disaster planning. It’s unlikely this will be the last pandemic. Certainly, further spikes in COVID-19 infections rates are expected and companies capable of learning from their recent experience and preparing for the future are more likely to have one.


There are undoubtedly more changes on the way. The question is: Which are already part of how you operate? Which are the ones you’re already moving towards? Which are the ones you know you need to do but don’t know where to begin? And what else is likely to be essential for your successful future operation?

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