The impact of Covid-19 and its Accompanying Digital Technology Changes on the Norms, Work Practices, and Employee Experience of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in The Netherlands
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The rise of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed companies, organizations, and institutions in their day-to-day activities. Although research suggests that organizations can often deal with rapid change, many organizations and institutions were caught unprepared. Usually, this is not a problem as it often only affects a single company. However, the pandemic affected the whole global market. This study aims to provide insights and recommendations incorporating the changing norms and work practices of Small-Medium-Enterprises in The Netherlands during the Covid-19 pandemic and how these changes affected the employees’ experience and well-being, with emphasis on the effect of digital technology shifts. Following a literature study, organizations from different sectors in The Netherlands were interviewed and surveyed. Managers from four organizations were interviewed and 33 eligible survey responses were gathered from employees. Results reveal that organizations were heavily affected during the pandemic and implemented a large number of tools and technologies. Participants of the interviews and survey reported an increase in efficiency and productivity due to the changing norms, work practices, and technology uptakes that took place. These changes, however, did not always improve the performance of organizations and the well-being of their employees. We conclude this thesis with recommendations on how organizations can improve their processes, as a result of the lessons learned during the pandemic. Our recommendations include proposed changes in the implementation time, the shift in communications, the streamlining of the employee’s overview, and the improvement of accessibility, availability, motivation, and energy.