Why COVID-19 Will Change The Future Of Work

Have you been working remotely during the COVID-19 quarantine? Are you wondering if the changes are here to stay? 

Working remotely with a button-down shirt and pajama pants has become the new normal. Yet signs are pointing to our work buildings re-opening sometime in the near future.

How will the pandemic influence the future of work?

Let’s take a look.

1. Less Time at the Office

Remote workers offer great advantages to those running companies, not the least of which are financial. Renting expensive metropolitan real estate and paying for utilities like heat and electricity are major expenses for corporations with a big job to do. And don’t forget about commuting expenses like parking lot rentals and subsidies for transit usage.

Remote employees, however, do the work without the expense. A new Gallup poll also shows that job flexibility may increase employee engagement.

Employees working remotely can manage their time more carefully. They may schedule breaks and work around events like their children’s school pick-ups.

Flexibility enables employees to arrange their workdays so they are fully engaged and enthusiastic during their working hours. They will also be able to stay home when they are sick, thus lowering infection rates and healthcare costs for companies. It is also easier for employees to maintain healthy eating habits and workout routines when they are not always “on the go.”

Working from home also eliminates the problem of inclement weather leading to employees taking personal days or getting into auto accidents. This is especially helpful in colder climates.

Employers who offer a flexible schedule may experience lower turnover. Workers can incorporate their work schedules into their lives and find ways to become even more effective. You can attract quality talent and avoid breaking in new employees on a regular basis.

As has been the trend over the last decade or so, physical meetings where time is spent discussing matters may be replaced by emails or instant messages. All employees can quickly give their input. And conversations are less likely to be dominated by a few assertive voices.

2. Distancing Could Become the New Normal

As we begin to trickle back into physical workspaces, we may notice a difference in the way we relate to one another. Wearing masks, for example, could become common in spaces where more than ten people are gathering.

You will also want to avoid handshakes and high-fives while dangerous viruses are still a possibility. Folks may be more comfortable having conversations at a safe distance.

We may, however, find that conversations and bonding happen more when we are actually in our workplaces. Employees may be more appreciative of in-person conversations after being without them for so long. We may be more likely to reach out to others for conversations not involving our immediate families. 

3. Work Can Become More Family-Friendly

Video conferencing could make it easier for employees who normally have to leave work by a certain time to attend meetings at all hours. They may, for example, be able to pick up their child from school and then hop on a video call before starting dinner.

The reduction in commute time may mean that employees can spend more quality time with their children after school or during lunch hours. Families may develop a closeness that was once a thing of the past.

4. Employee Testing Could Become Standard

Testing that will make employees and clients feel safer could become the new norm in many places of work. Temperature checks and antibody tests, for example, could be recommended or even required. 

Employers should not discriminate. The requirements for testing should be required for all or no workers. Aside from that, however, it is legal for them to require medical screenings.

5. Home Offices Will Become Desirable Real Estate

Home office stipends may begin to replace commuting credits as work becomes more remote. Employees will become encouraged to purchase comfortable chairs, flexible desks, and additional AV equipment to make their home spaces better able to handle online conferencing and support.

In the future, homes with secluded offices will become more desirable in home sales. Homeowners may be looking for living spaces with quiet, attractive rooms for working while busy family life is going on.

Meanwhile, families are looking to convert spaces in their current homes into work-friendly modules.

6. A Change in Work Relationships

You may find a greater appreciation from your supervisors and colleagues as they realize what you are working around. From supporting children with special needs to worrying about your family’s nutrition they may realize just how much real-life work you’re tackling on a daily basis.

Your relationships will become more intimate as co-workers are becoming familiar with your children and spouse on a regular basis. 

Those managers who are leading with all their hearts will rise to the top as workspaces change. Those who show empathy and communicate well will be able to motivate their employees to work hard even as their schedules change.

Lots of praise and positive reinforcement will be necessary for encouraging employees to learn the new skills necessary for competing in a new environment.

Consider, for example, a virtual CFO who can oversee bookkeeping and financial planning without the expense and hassle of an in-house manager.

Remote Offices and the Future of Work

The cost-effectiveness and productivity of remote work during a pandemic will change the future of work forever. Expect flexibility, home offices, and distance meetings to become a part of professional life for years to come.

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