Write a proposal on Changes in work culture in international businesses as a result of Covid-19 pandemic: a case of the UK and US
|Subject||Writing a proposal||Pages||7||Style||APA|
The COVID-19 pandemic, which is both a worldwide health crisis and economic threat, has had swift and tremendous impacts upon workplace culture. The global lockdowns and bans on travel have overturned assumptions regarding corporate interactions and nature of work (Alon et al. 2020). People have realized that they no longer have to be in their offices, that they can remotely have things done (Brooks et al. 2020). They no more have to commute to work. Imai et al. (2020) note that some people have shifted from jet-set to home-bound with relatively little impact upon their businesses. As employees adjust to working during a pandemic as well as prepare for recoveries, organizational leaders should take into consideration which culture transformations they need to retain/condone and the ones the need to counteract. The rapidity seen with these changes is a challenge. Allen et al. (2014) explain that organizational culture refers to a collective norm of conducts exhibited by the people in an organization. Largely, workplace culture more often than not does not change very fast and much. It slowly adjusts over a long time period in response to an accrual of several small motivations and the infrequent epiphany. Nevertheless, from the beginning of 2020, organizations and companies internationally have forsaken their basic working premise, accelerating adoption of digital equipment. Most professionals currently have their jobs done remotely with modern collaborative technologies – screen-sharing, videoconferencing, digital shared file storage, digital whiteboards, concurrent multi-authoring of articles, smartphone chat groups – freely available (Alon et al. 2020). Companies have, therefore, shifted from face-to-face interactions. While organizations are fast shifting, Brooks et al. (2020) maintain that face-to-face remains significant since it creates trust and rapport since face-to-face meetings allow people to establish relationships and read one another’s non-verbal cues. With the sudden transformations, leaders are replacing the implicit messages with explicit direction that are remotely communicated. Leaders need to build trust by giving their colleagues space to own and plan for their jobs and allow them accomplish their work when they think individually.
Whereas remote working may appear cheap, the same come with various hidden costs to organizations. Some United States’ employees reveled that lockdown implied social isolation since it caused people to endure silence. There is a reason behind the employment of solitary confinement as a punishment in prisons. To alleviate these effects, leaders need to engage their colleagues and employ collaborative knowhows to maintain social interactions and contacts (Allen et al. 2014). It is against this backdrop that this paper aims at exploring the changes in work culture in international businesses as a result of Covid-19 pandemic using case scenarios from the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US).
Being a worldwide economic threat and health crisis, COVID-19 brought about global lockdowns of industries and businesses that were mandated and implemented to curb down the virus’s spread. With the lockdowns, a wide range of fundamental and unique challenges both for employers and employees ensued globally (Alon et al. 2020). At individual levels, populations of shutdown impacted employees were quickly transformed into “life-sustaining” employees (like emergency room clinical staff and supermarket employees), “work from home” staff, or laid-off or furloughed workers looking for countr-specific unemployment beefits equivalent (Alon et al. 2020). Organizationally, Mak and Kozlowski (2019) explain that the economic shutdowns along with associated governmental undertakings seem likely to speed up trends and patterns that were underway in others already, transform some sectors and companies fundamentally, as well as open up opportunities for novel sectors to emerge as often happens during times of natural disaster and wars. Owing to the breadth and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and shock, organizational and work psychologists need to urgently apply the field’s latest knowledge for purposes of sensemaking to assist organizations and individuals manage risks while crafting and applying solutions.
This paper’s main objective will be to explore the workplace culture changes that have occurred in international businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on US and UK companies. To better understand the effects of the pandemic, this paper will focus on:
- Exploring emergent transformations that have characterized work practices in response to the pandemic in the UK and US.
- Discussing technologies that have enhanced the new normal workplace cultures that have been ensued as a result of COVID-19 in the UK and US.
- Exploring the future of newly acquired workplace cultures post COVID-19 pandemic.
- Comparing and contrasting the challenges that are faced by US and UK companies with regard to the new workplace cultures.
- How have workplace cultures changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in UK and US companies?
- What emergent transformations have characterized workplace cultures and practices in response to the pandemic in the UK and US?
- Which technologies and technological advancements have enhanced the new normal workplace cultures that have been ensued as a result of COVID-19 in the UK and US?
- How is the future of newly acquired workplace cultures likely to be post the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How do the challenges being faced by US and UK companies with regard to the new workplace cultures compare and contrast?
Apart from reviewing and applying past studies in helping to make sense of the COVID-19 pandemic, the paper aims at providing a productive overview to assist in situating and guiding future research and hypothesizing on the effects linked with COVID-19. Additionally, this paper will assist practitioners and researchers take calculated steps to mitigate and manage the negative impacts of COVID-19 and begin (re)designing evidence-based roadmaps for the future.
Whereas COVID-19 upended abruptly normal work routines, it equally sped up trends that were initially underway that involved work migration to virtual or online settings (Imai et al. 2020). Among the approaches that have received wide acceptance globally are work from home (WFH), mandatory work from home (MWFH), and virtual teams, as discussed below.
According to a study by Brooks et al. (2020) of 250 human resources departments revealed that about 50% of the companies in the U.S. had at least 80% of their staff working their homes during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic – and approximated significant long-term rises for remote work after the onset of the COVID-19. The need for millions of employees to WFH as a response to COVID-19 has sped up recent remote work patterns and trends facilitated by the increase of communication technologies and connectivity (Imai et al. 2020). Whereas “remote work” is a broader classification owing to the fact that it can encompass working from anywhere, there is evidence that some experts need to execute intricate tasks requiring them to interact with their peers (Klehe et al. 2012). Imai et al. (2020) reason that some employees are actually more productive and prefer if they WFH. However, as many employees are forced to WFH, many encounter challenges as a result of fundamental issues like not having space in their homes to attend to work and work-related activities like virtual meetings. Additionally, employees living with others in their house encounter a variety of challenges relative to those living alone owing to the fact that they have to navigate other people’s space (Ashford et al. 2018). In another study by Katz and Krueger (2016), employees usually find it problematic maintaining boundaries between non-work and work, with the forced confinement of employees in their houses as a result of COVID-19 further complicating this issue. Whereas WFH seem appealing by offering safe harbours, the lack of separation between home and one’s work – along with the lack of commutes to offer a transition between the two – can become burdensome too (Mak & Kozlowski 2019).
One domain that can better help us learn more lessons about the effects of COVID-19 on workplace culture is the experience that gig workers had since they usually work from anywhere (like delivery people, shoppers, and drivers). Reflective of expansion of the gig economy before COVID-19, in the US, about 20% of the workforce are freelance employees (McKinsey & Co, 2016), a figure that grew to about 40% by the mid-2020s (Brooks et al. 2020). Labour economists, remarkably, approximate that all the net job growths that occurred from 2005 to 2015 was in the US’ gig economy (Imai et al. 2020). Whereas the so-called ride-share firms were closed down as a way of mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, an equivalent boom in different delivery services that are staffed by gig employees registered growth potentials of such jobs (Petriglieri et al. 2019). The problems that gig employees often face will sound alike to those needed to WFH owing to the fact that they include: staying and getting organized; managing heightened emotions that are linked with
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