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The Impact of the Pandemic on Workplace Norms

How has the pandemic altered workplaces, upended the rules of employer-employee relationships, and evolved how the world works forever?

To answer these important questions, The Academy of Management (AOM) gathered leading global workplace scholar experts to showcase research-based insights and make sense of the pandemic’s workplace evolutions. The association created the panel to provide actionable research-based insights to guide organizations and employees during the pandemic.

Prior to, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, AOM scholar members, Peter Bamberger of Tel Aviv University, Adam M. Kleinbaum of Dartmouth College, Tsedal Neeley of Harvard Business School and Jennifer Petriglieri of INSEAD, have studied the hybrid work revolution, employer-employee relationships, work-life balance, what trends might be more pervasive in a post-pandemic future, and more to help enhance employee well-being and engagement. The scholars are globally recognized as experts on the topics of the workplace, remote work, work relationships, and generally how organizations and employees interact.

The workplace’s pandemic reset

The panel shared data that has shown that today’s workers, who are either working remotely or in-person during the pandemic, are the most stressed that they have ever been.

The scholars explained why and how this has happened, what organizations can do to mitigate stress and worker burnout for their workforce, and how worker wellness is one of the most important areas for companies today to focus on.

Insights into the future

“The companies of the future that are going to win the talent war are going to be those who recognize that there is a work life divide — and treat people and their lives holistically, while leading with a focus on what is best for their employees not only at work but overall,” Jennifer Petriglieri of INSTAD said. “Companies who don’t do that are going to bleed talent.”

The panelists also discussed what the future of work looks like, and how organizations, employees, and the world can best prepare for it.

“My advice to organizational leaders is that if inequality was a problem before the pandemic, it has certainly been accelerated by the pandemic. This is something that if organizational leaders don’t pay attention to, it will come back and bite them big time,” Peter Bamberger of Tel Aviv University said.

The digital revolution

In addition, panelists detailed how the nature of work is changing in lockstep with the pandemic and the digital work revolution.

“In the same way that COVID accelerated the virtualization of work, it has also accelerated the digitization of work, where reliance on data, technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic processing, and automation have advanced in extraordinary ways across many companies,” Tsedal Neeley of Harvard Business School said. “If we get this hybrid work right, which speaks to the nature of work that’s changing, we are going to be better prepared to deal with the digital revolution that is right around the corner.”

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