“New Normal”: The Five Pillars


COVID-19 has accelerated many changes in the world of work. It has reinforced the value of some approaches, highlighted the flaws in others, and forced many of us to rethink fundamental concepts such as when and how work is done or assessed. Over the past months, five pillars forming the “new normal” of the post-COVID world have emerged as areas to pay attention to. Here are the key takeaways of each pillar.

Environment: the health, safety, socialization, and operational adjustments

  • The need for health and safety will bring about a change in office layouts and how spaces are designed.
  • The work environment must now incorporate a social space element to bridge physical and virtual workspaces.
  • Companies will have to establish new workplace practices, including a solid communication strategy, to support their new ways of working.

Technology: its implementation, maintenance, and use

  • The post-COVID workplace will be marked by an acceleration in digitization and a much more robust digital infrastructure that can simultaneously support physical and virtual ways of working.
  • HR technology will become critical to augmenting and improving various HR practices.
  • Cybersecurity will continue to be an important aspect of digitization that should not be overlooked. 

Productivity: new ways of defining, assessing, and improving it

  • Most companies will have to adapt to measuring results rather than activities. This is going to be a fundamental shift post-COVID-19. 
  • The focus will shift away from individuals and towards corporate goals and teams.
  • Employee well-being–physical, mental, and social–will be a major factor affecting productivity.

Talent: its development, deployment, and management

  • Companies must come to understand which roles are critical and what is the best way of filling them.
  • Upskilling and retraining will remain an essential part of talent development. Companies must identify the skills that they need most, and strategize to develop or acquire the relevant talent.
  • Rewards strategies must be adjusted to match the new approach, and so must the handling of payroll.

HR: the strategic function that brings the other pillars together

  • The HR function will continue to play a major role in establishing the “new normal” and managing the transition.
  • HR will need to understand and answer the changing needs of the business and employees.
  • Most importantly, HR must remain adaptable enough to redesign itself and remain relevant in the new world of work.

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