Shifting To The “Next Normal”: a Combination of Work Behaviour, Strategy, Values, Collaboration tools, Productivity and Agility

Shifting To The “Next Normal”: a Combination of Work Behaviour, Strategy, Values, Collaboration tools, Productivity and Agility

As we are entering into the “next normal”, a growing number of organisations around the world are witnessing the beginnings of a dramatic restructuring of the social and economic order. In this emergence of a new era that we view as the “next normal”, digital transformation is no longer a process or future end goal, it is a mere need that will define how organisations will continue to survive. Some organisations consider short-term survival as a single agenda item, others look into uncertainty, thinking about how to settle down as soon as the crisis is over, and things shift to normal. Although many businesses look to return to offices or adapt to local public health guidelines, it is impossible to shift back to the way things looked before.

Organisations without a comprehensive digital strategy have a risk of wasting money on expensive technologies without having a clear idea of how they should be leveraged to achieve their business goals. Predictable business leaders understand the importance of reimagining their business models in order to stay stronger. It is crucially important to have a well-developed plan on how to implement new digital capabilities, and ERP systems to maximise and scale business goals that are essential.

One of the key advantages of a business wide solution such as Acumatica Cloud ERP is that it offers a perfect platform for virtual working and this serves the need to support hybrid working with home, office and mobile operations with no additional IT overhead.

Here are some important factors that should be taken into consideration while shifting to the “next normal”.

Empower Team To Set Clear Expectations

– Build a detailed “persona-based” view of value creation, and how work gets done in every part of the organisation, and map it to hybrid practices each person needs to follow.

– Consistency in culture across the organisation. In order to have a finite set of behaviors to modify team managers shall expect to have similar behaviors for success everywhere.

– Build a picture of the critical behavior gaps that the organisation might experience during the shift to remote work.

– Conduct an assessment of the core skills required for the organisation to shift to in-person work. 

– Create mechanisms to set time-bound expectations around new skill development.

– Define a set of in-person practices across the organisation to ensure basic personal connectivity.

Unlock Rapid Learning About How Work Can Get Done Better And Faster

– Technical and HR leaders should be aware of how the shift to virtual structurally increases data on productivity, the pace of decisions and work done.

– Team leaders should know how to use this data in order to identify barriers to speed, decision-making and execution protecting employee privacy.

– All data should be tuned to measure the speed of decision-making and business processes.

– The HR should be prepared to handle additional inputs as part of professional development programs, training, and performance reviews.

– Conversations within the business should be held in order to define relevant metrics for a successful return to work.

Design The Employee Experience For Health, Safety, Productivity, And Collaboration

– Model how much real estate is needed under different scenarios (different degrees of remote work), and how much savings it may result in over some time.

– Plan to adjust a footprint to match this real estate demand – both through potential absolute reductions in space, and changes to how that space can be acquired (from long-term leases to flex space, short-term leases, shared conferencing facilities and other solutions). 

– Create a wider variety of spaces within the office (private offices, cubes, open desks, barstool seating, bookable rooms, modular conferencing) to both foster collaboration, and enable greater variability in utilisation.

– Stock all offices with the required cleaning and sanitation supplies.  

– Supplement the employee experience in areas where preventative measures are changing elements of how it used to be (encourage participation given office meetings will be held via Zoom, how are new-joiners being integrated to their teams given the lunch-hour experience will be different).

Go All-in On Collaboration Tools And Inclusive Meeting Culture

Consider how to set up early ‘platforms’ that could transform how work gets done (talent sharing across companies, Github-style asynchronous work).

– Replace whiteboards with a virtual whiteboard experience. Define ways how does this collaboration tool level the playing field between in-person vs. work-from-home employees.

– Asses networks for additional performance needs under strain.

– Supplement cybersecurity capabilities to mitigate additional risk (work-from-home threats).

– Check whether employees experience connectivity issues, and tech support SLAs can scale up to support the expected increase in additional workload.

– Set up norms that will allow virtual participants a way to “raise a hand” in case in-room discussion excludes virtual perspectives. Track how often that feature is being used, and how it can change over time.

– Set expectations on inclusive meeting practices. Special training should be provided to all employees on collaboration in a hybrid work environment.

Why Is Agility So Important While Shifting To The “next normal”?

  Many organisations that have embraced agility are able to improve their delivery, increase speed, and enhance customer and employee experience. In the time of the pandemic, many organisations have accelerated their shift to agile. Agile organisations responded faster to the crisis, while those that do not embrace agile work may well lose the benefits of speed and resilience needed in the “next normal”.

  On starting an agile transformation, organisations are able to emphasise and discuss tribes, squads, chapters and scrum. At any level of the enterprise, agility means the transition of strategies, structures, processes, people and technologies to a new operating model through the restructuring of the organisation, consisting of hundreds of self-governing, highly efficient teams supported by a stable foundation.


When we finally enter into the post-crisis period, it becomes clear that all businesses will not be returned to its pre-crisis state, but will be shifted to the “next normal”. Business leaders preparing their organisations to succeed in the “new normal” have to focus on new ways of working and thinking about what has changed, and what remains basically the same for their customers, companies and industries. 

Yaroslava Dubenska
Yaroslava Dubenska