What are the expected people challenges ahead?

While there are certainly lots of positive things coming out of this challenging time such as businesses getting better at building flexible workplaces, using zoom to have meetings and reducing travel time/cost, team members learning to multi-skill and businesses being forced to review the way they operate, there are also potentially some negative people challenges to be aware of:-

1. Anxiety

We have shared a lot on this topic previously, however the amount of change and potential lack of clarity of future direction has escalated most people’s anxiety levels. The ‘unknown’ and particularly how this period will impact on individuals in the short and medium term is causing both business owners and team members to have sleepless nights and significant unrest.

In anxious times, we see all types of behaviour occur and sadly mainly negative ones are escalated including defending areas, not sharing of information, conflict and breakdown in relationships.

2. Burnout

Depending on whether businesses are thriving or not, or people’s personal circumstances or even just dealing with the massive amount of information and/or change in responsibilities (be that work or personal), can lead to burn out, exhaustion and fatigue.

Quickly identifying signs (such as lapses in communication, errors, failing to complete tasks properly or on time and checking in with team members) is critical in trying to keep on top of this.

3. Lack of Productivity and Performance outputs

Stop / start / stop / start always adds to lack of productivity and taking additional time to get things done. As people get used to working from home, with children, pets, IT issues and new environments, taking more time to do things is normally a direct result.

Good habits around time management, daily planning and setting up work environments to minimise disruptions are key to success here. Building accountability around check-ins and progress updates can also assist.

4. Lack of Connection

While businesses are trying some very cool creative ways of staying connected over this period, some team members can still be missing the human connection, the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the office, face to face meetings and the background noise/conversations.

Sometimes this can result in ‘what is not seen is not noticed’ so the extra effort that may be made on some things may not be occurring. Also, this can result in decreased sharing of information, operating in silos and potential breakdown in communication as well as a lack of ability to read the ‘essence’ of the office or non-verbals to check in on people as you normally would.

Establishing alternate ways to connect and check in on your team is critical over this period to ensure team members feel safe and still keep up the team banter and interaction.

5. Break of routine and habits

Start and finish times, balancing personal issues and work issues and working in different locations are just some of the routines and habits that are being challenged at the moment. This has been particularly difficult for a 9-5 traditional workplaces to get their heads around both in terms of business leaders and team members.

On the flip side, saving time by not having to travel to work, not getting distracted by other team members and having time to think about the business more strategically could be some up-side.

Establishing ways to clearly measure outputs and trying to keep to routines that are effective are critical in getting people back to the workplace. Although, I suspect that our workplaces will all definitely be different in some way moving forward.


To support our managers over this time, we have developed a tailored 6 week program starting from Wednesday 27 May, 2020.  We have taken the best of our 90 day program and added some new critical traits and tools that will help managers lead their team over these challenging times.

This program will be a live online program run Wednesday mornings for 90 minutes over 6 weeks and will have action exercises, useful templates and real life examples to provide immediate impact and support. Plus, we will have 15 minutes at the end to address any questions, issues or blockers that might be causing you any concern.

Click here for more information