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University of Silesia in Katowice

Dominik Adamek | Preparation for work in the post-COVID age

15.05.2020 - 11:23 update 15.05.2020 - 16:19
Editors: OO, Sekcja Prasowa
Tags: epidemia, praca

| Dominik Adamek |

The recent time is particularly difficult. The epidemiological situation brings us new challenges, and its low predictability causes fear and sense of threat. The changes affect every aspect of our lives, forcing us to take action, often in the atmosphere of panic. A lot has already been written about the improvement of the quality of life in isolation, and support to overcome family and personal problems. Much has also been said about the methods of organising time and increasing the effectiveness of remote work. These issues are definitely of key importance for handling matters here and now. However, a different question arises: ‘What can we do now to prepare for living in the post-COVID age?’

The situation is weird. Within a short moment, without a clear beginning, in one time and space, the aspects of our lives that we usually try, with great effort, to treat as independent from each other, were combined. All of a sudden, our ability to separate work from private life became pure fiction. To fulfil all cumulative duties and perform all tasks when you are home based has become quite a challenge, whereas the institutions that employ us even added to the sense of instability and frustration through their chaotic, incomprehensible and incoherent actions.

Let’s have a look at this work/non-work. ‘The situation is difficult’ – this is what everyone can see, hear, feel and experience. What is unusual about it? There is ‘too little’ and ‘too much’ at the same time.

Our daily professional duties have not changed. We are still held accountable for the same effects of work. Our skills, knowledge and competencies remain the same as before. However, new organizational conditions have been created. They are supposed to be tailored for the new reality and support the employee in handling work in these circumstances. In order to comply with the new, constantly evolving requirements, it is necessary to adapt ourselves. However, it is hard to determine the kind of knowledge and skills that we should invest in, because such guidelines may fall out of date faster than a completed investment. In this situation, it seems to be a good idea to change the approach, change the evaluation of the situation and management strategies, as well as to tailor the work performed not only to the company requirements, but also to one’s own needs and capacities.

So what can we do now to make things better later?

Take care of ourselves. Slow down a bit, focus on what is here and now, and analyse our situation. We have no real impact on the development of the global epidemiological situation, on the decisions of the Polish authorities, or even those taken by the decision-makers in our company. However, we do have impact on how we are going to behave and what we are going to do in the above circumstances, as well as how we are going to prepare for their consequences.

Dominik Adamek
Dominik Adamek z Instytutu Psychologii Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Katowicach | fot. archiwum D. Adamka

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Think about the current situation at work and its consequences for yourself. Indicate what may prove to be difficult for you. Decide what among these potential difficulties is a challenge that you want or have to take, and what is a risk whose impact it would be good to reduce.

This task is neither easy nor pleasant. However, with some motivation and effort, it will allow to notice the areas where action is possible. So this is the time to prepare an ‘inventory’ of our resources – tools for action.

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Think about what you know and what you can do, what is at your disposal to take up the challenge. Every skill, thing and person that may support you in handling difficulties is important.

When we notice the potential difficulties and recognise the resources which we have to deal with them, then we may take care of the shortcomings. If you see that there is something missing, or something you cannot do, or you lack the support of a relevant person, it’s time to take another step.

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Invest in yourself. Try to spend the time in isolation developing what will be useful later. The wide range of online trainings will allow you to gain new knowledge and increase your skills, whereas the contacts established through social media may create a well-functioning network of support.

Once we know more less what may happen to us and realise what resources we do have, it’s time to start planning, which will allow to reduce unpredictability. When we add a sequence and structure to our operations, we usually feel safer and more confident performing them. This is particularly significant in the period of introducing changes.

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Try to indicate and plan:

  • how you can use what you have, know and can do to improve the effects of your work?
  • how you can change your work to get more out of it for yourself?
  • how you can tailor your daily professional activities to reduce the unnecessary burdens?

A plan will be useful, because the change concerns an important aspect of our life. We will experimentally change the approach to work. We are focusing not only on increasing the effectiveness, but also on increasing satisfaction and minimising unnecessary discomfort. This is essential to strengthen what develops us and reduce what gives us excessive burden – especially now, when work and home merge into one. Think about it, try and decide about the next step.

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Try to act again.

Based on the following literature:

  • Bakker A. B., Tims M., Derks D. (2012). Proactive personality and job performance: The role of job crafting and work engagement. Human Relations, 65(10), 1359–1378. DOI: 10.1177/0018726712453471;
  • Demerouti E, (2014). Design Your Own Job Through Job Crafting. European Psychologist, 19(4), 137–147. DOI: 10.1027/1016-9040/a000188;
  • Petrou P., Demerouti E., Schaufeli W. B. (2015). Job Crafting in Changing Organizations. Antecedents and Implications for Exhaustion and Performance. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 20(4), 470–489;
  • Rogala A., Cieślak R. (2019). Narzędzie do pomiaru przekształcania pracy: Właściwości psychometryczne polskiej wersji Job Crafting Scale. Medycyna Pracy: 70(4): 445–457;
  • Ślebarska K. (2017). Droga do pracy. Proaktywne radzenie sobie a poszukiwanie zatrudnienia i adaptacja do nowego miejsca pracy. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego;
  • Tims M., Bakker A.B. (2010). Job crafting: Towards a new model of individual job redesign. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology/SA Tydskrif vir Bedryfsielkunde, 36(2), Art. #841, 9 pages. DOI: 10.4102/ sajip.v36i2.841.

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