Challenges and Opportunities When Reimagining Work in the New Normal

The entire world working from home is uncharted waters for everyone, and managing a work-life balance in “The New Normal” can be difficult.   On this episode of Career Center, host Kim White, Executive Director of the Career & Networking Center, is joined by a panel of experts via Zoom to discuss what this new normal looks like for employers and employees, and the challenges and opportunities that come with it.

Customer and Employee Experiences

When the work experience changes, so does the employee experience. Businesses are asking their workforce to be adaptive, but also maintain the balance they’ve come to expect from their jobs.

“We’ve always been focused on the customer experience,” said Kader Sakkaria of Realogy. “Now there’s a huge emphasis on the employee experience. It’s been a very significant point going into this work culture, and that has actually driven a lot of the decision-making process from our side.  How do you drive that employee experience? How do you drive that employee connectivity? To be able to be productive, and balance their work and life activity as well.”

Virtual Proximity

Just because employees are working from home doesn’t mean work culture can’t exist. It’s the challenge of employers to maintain the culture of the work environment from home.

“One of the critical success factors, just looking back on the last three months, has been a role that we developed, specifically for this new normal, this work-from-home,” said Joseph King, Chief Marketing Officer at Brillio LLC. “We call it the Office of Virtual Proximity. This role was not developed to police. This role took a very empathetic employee-first view, in making sure that they were able to collaborate, they were able to be productive, and most importantly, they were able to engage. With each other, with project management, and with clients.”

Changing College and Education

Every field has been affected differently, and colleges and universities have seen their students having to learn from home. In addition, staff and faculty have had to teach, plan, and lead from home.

“COVID has changed not just the student experience, but the faculty and staff experience as well,” said Russell Walker, Associate Professor of Teaching at the University of Washington Foster School of Business. “Everything that we do had been focused on convening in-person,” said Walker. “The student going through a university is different than the client, and especially the employee going through a business. There’s a very valid economic question, ‘Is it the same product? Should a student be charged the same price?'”

Moving Forward

“The New Normal” is here to stay, but with new challenges come new opportunities to learn and grow. Being able to adapt will make all the difference.

“We haven’t mastered it by any stretch of the imagination, and 42% of the workforce is going to continue to work virtually,” said Joseph King. “The keywords are ‘safe’ and ‘responsible.’ Those are going to drive every decision that we make.”

More About the Career & Networking Center

The Career & Networking Center began as The Community Career Center in 1996 to help individuals gain resources and tools to conduct a successful job search and find or return to work.  Since then, the not-for-profit organization, along with a group of human resource and other business professionals, has assisted area residents in setting goals and implementing strategies to accomplish those goals.  The center offers coaching appointments, which often include:  resume writing, interviewing skills, networking, job search strategies, career exploration, brand development and computer skills.  The center also has a free job bank where employers can post available positions and people seeking jobs can look there for a potential position.

For more career and networking tips, watch previous episodes of “Career Center” on-demand.

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