In November 2019, Peel Leadership Centre initiated a conversation about the Future of Work in the nonprofit sector.  At that point in time, who could have predicted that the future of work would quickly become the present? 

A key feature of what the future of work would look like during our November discussions was remote working. The timing of the COVID-19 crisis has pushed this remote work conversation to the forefront. There is a well-known phrase that goes something like this – every cloud has a silver lining – and perhaps an important outcome of this crisis is that the opportunities and challenges around working remotely has been catapulted into our consciousness and thinking about what the future of work may look like. Together, all at once, we’ve had to adapt and have been challenged to a new way of learning, working and communicating with co-workers and clients.

That being said, the option to work remotely is not an option for all workers.  For workers on the front-line, such as those providing essential services like health-care, transportation, goods and services, construction, utility and emergency workers – they remain on the job to maintain critical services. For workers, whose work is about providing direct services to marginalized populations within our communities, the COVID-19 crisis must hit especially hard. For them, work is client-facing and involves directly connecting with those who need and depend on their help.  At this point, working remotely also isn’t an effective or viable option.This list includes nonprofit agencies such as food banks, housing and homelessness services, shelters, seniors services and many more which provide services to some of the most marginalized groups in our communities. These are truly our unsung heroes, who face the daily threat of contracting an illness that, truthfully, we know very little about. All we can do is support these frontl-ine workers the best we can and to be cognizant of what they are facing and sacrificing each day on the job. 

How can we do this? Through the years, Peel Leadership Centre has worked with and supported many front-line agencies that provide critical services within our communities.  These include a variety of shelters, food banks, counselling centres and new settlement organizations, to name just a few. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, PLC, being a backbone organization is listening to its stakeholders and responding quickly to support the sector in the best possible way and some initiatives include:

  • PLC has set up a Virtual HR Coach Corner on a weekly basis – A session with an HR Coach for answering questions on staffing, temporary layoffs, managing a virtual workforce and other related areas.
  • PLC is hosting a ‘Virtual Coffee Chat’ for the Executive Directors of nonprofits/charities every two weeks to lean on and connect with one another. 

For more information, please connect with Vanita Varma at vanita@peelleadershipcentre.org

As we experience and as we emerge from the heights of the COVID-19 crisis, hopefully our new norm will include a consideration for those hardest hit and most severely impacted by the crisis and the organizations and workers who provide tireless support to our most marginalized populations.

Please take care and stay safe.

Sincerely,

Your remotely working PLC Team

P.S. Here are a few interesting articles about the opportunities of working remotely, and some links that you might find useful.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypercy/2020/03/27/if-remote-companies-are-the-future-of-work-what-does-that-mean-for-leaders/#6ebc0b7a62dd

https://learning.linkedin.com/blog/productivity-tips/new-to-working-remotely–these-resources-can-help

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