The Coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down and put businesses on the offense as they attempt to mitigate the crisis as best they can. One of the advantages of the digital age is the ability to work remotely, which has allowed many companies to survive and thrive where others cannot.
When the dust finally settles, we may very well embrace a new kind of workplace; one that is more dependent on remote access, and more focused on employee safety. One thing is for certain – some big changes are on the way.
While many are touting this as the end of the modern workplace as we know it, that’s most certainly hyperbole that should be taken with a grain of salt. In reality, the modern workplace will soldier on, but it may attach a series of ideological modules designed to court a more flexible style of work. Expect remote work to remain predominant for the next 6-9 months, long after COVID-19 has run its course. The possibility of a second wave of infections in the fall (though to a far lesser degree) will keep more people away from busy workspaces until a vaccine is produced.
That means remote workers will have to adapt to their home surroundings by implementing the right technologies to stay connected with their respective teams. It also means focusing heavily on creating a productive home workspace; one devoid of distractions and missing elements. For those who commute daily to work, the office may tack on a few things that were not standard issue before the pandemic broke out. This could include anti-bacterial soap and water stations, desk dividers and other items designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 human-to-human transmission, much the same way as governments have mandated a minimum 6-feet distance between people.
To summarize, expect increased investment by companies into remote work and training for employees, and possible adaptation of gig workers within certain industries who are already used to this work style. For others who have spent decades rubbing shoulders with co-workers in an office, the adjustment period will be harder, but can be reduced with the right steps. Companies like Microsoft have already implemented work-from-home strategies to shift their workload to the remote sector. Companies will need to take anxiety and stress regarding COVID-19 into account without neglecting depression, which few are really focusing on.
This could end up having a silver lining benefit in the form of re-training programs. As COVID-19 continues to deal a blow to the global economy with an expected recession to follow in its wake, companies will undoubtedly focus more on increasing the skill sets of new and existing employees to counter the damage. Moving forward, this kind of practice could produce stellar results as the memory of the pandemic tapers off, and things get back to relative normalcy.
As remote work becomes the new standard during the pandemic, so too will reliance on new technologies, and the drive to better them. Video conferencing apps are expected to surge, as well as collaborative remote databases and adoption of Email and team management apps. This technological shift in communication means companies will have to produce their own standards and protocols to deal with employees who are not within earshot of a manager. Expect new technologies and apps to hit the market in a post-Coronavirus era that make remote work as easy and straightforward as setting foot in an office environment.
If nothing else, the traditional office will remain, at least for the long-standing future. There are plenty of businesses that cannot feasibly run on a remote setup, and must have all hands on deck to complete their work. What we will see is a hybridization of old and new – the traditional workplace environment, and key people operating remotely under one umbrella model. In the process, we may learn that this approach is more beneficial than the traditional workplace form we’ve come to associate with a daily 9-5. Time will tell, but given that we would probably have suffered a more disastrous outcome from COVID-19 if it had struck 15 years ago, the evidence is convincing.
For more information on remote or traditional workplace environments, and how we can help set up and sustain both, please visit us to chat.