The Old Normal
As we re-engage with snooze functions, interrogate ‘Google Maps’ for socially-distanced routes, speculate about which roles are critical and which may be considered non-essential (see 'Bullshit Jobs' by David Graeber) in the imminent restructures, we may be wise to stop planning for the ‘new normal’ and recognise that ‘normal’ is a fragile remnant of the 20th century, maintained by goal-focused baby-boomers. And they are now scampering to retirement cottages before #pension-crisis trends.
The world of work was already transforming. The 08 financial bruise opened up space for millennials with a determined focus on values, purpose, work/life balance and the planet – encouraging HR managers to write new
policies and forget sickness-reviews. The
move away from job descriptions/duties/tasks to transferable skills will now be pushed nearer the top of agendas on Zoom meetings of surviving senior teams of organisations set to thrive in the 2020s.
As notable organisations rush to announce that working from home is forever, it turns out that although productivity has not dropped (just a lowering personal hygiene standard), workers are tweeting that they are “missing the buzz of the office”. It turns out humans need balance. Who knew it?
Remember the office? Lol – a Victorian structure that declined after a global viral pandemic of 20/21 and disappeared entirely after the more significant world events of 22/23. Leaders are currently in controlled panic mode. Cut cut cut? A new vision? What do our clients want?
Just focus on what we already knew – · Get more women in senior positions. · Give a damn about staff well-being. · Have the conversations that we’ve been scared of getting wrong. · Prioritise feedback, check for progress, agree goals. · Utilise coaching – individual and team - it’s the only L & D you need right now.
The exponential growth of technology will not slow - by the end of the decade A.I. will enjoy coffee and vegan pastries with fragile humans. Middle-aged Millenials may be opining the benefits of a return to the SMART goal and a structured appraisal system. Gen. Z will be juggling the climate crisis with the teenage behaviours of Generation Alpha. And it’s Gen. Alpha that will bring about the biggest transformations. The clues are here now.
Historically, human pandemic survivors display symptoms of enhanced creativity, a quest for purpose, increased compassion and spirituality (see Dr. Carole Pemberton’s article) History also shows us that we are super-skilled at forgetting fast too. Normal? It's a quaint word.