There is no understating the magnitude of COVID-19. It is a pandemic that has spread with frightening speed and infected millions across the world. The global health crisis has also caused an economic halt, with entire industries and businesses having to shut down. Unemployment levels within the United States rose to record levels. Pew Research found that unemployment levels shot up from 3.8% in February to 13.0% in May. Amid this backdrop, businesses are coming back online. But things may never be the same again. The workplace after coronavirus will be much different, and we can already see how.
Employers Open to Remote Working Flexibility
Working remotely isn’t exactly a new concept. It is the kind of flexibility that many younger members of the workforce want. In the past, only a few employers considered this flexibility. And that too was to increase their appeal as a desirable employer. But COVID-19 has changed the game completely. What was once an option has now become the new norm. Most businesses that are still operating are doing so because their employees are working remotely. It is fortunate that the internet penetration in the US is so extensive. It has made affordable services like Internet Preferred plans available to most. This means more people have access to the internet to work remotely. And seeing the increase in productivity, it is likely to stay that way.
Virtual Meetings to Replace In-Person Meetings
One of the best ways to stop the spread of the virus is to practice social distancing. A distance of 2 to 3 meters between 2 people is considered the bare minimum. But in an office space, this can be challenging to maintain. Teams need to be able to access and communicate with each other to operate efficiently. Often, teams need to pack into a small boardroom for hours to discuss strategies and progress. However, even with masks and eyewear, the health risks are just too great. Luckily, the digital age presents us with a number of great alternatives. Virtual conferencing such as video calls on Zoom, Skype, etc help maintain team communication. But as a bonus, it does not put anyone’s health at risk.
Innovation and Adaptability are Key to Survival
COVID-19 has been a massive disruption, to say the least. It has upended economies and industries. Disruption means change, and in the business world, change is a way of life. Businesses are not strangers to change, just not as quickly and on such a large scale as COVID-19. But we already know how to tackle it. Time and time again, the only businesses that last are the ones that adapt. Many businesses will have to make changes to their business models. But the agility with which businesses can do this is going to make a difference. A good example is distilleries that are now working to produce alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Furloughed Employees to be Shared Across Industries
We already know that unemployment levels have surpassed the Great Depression. The COIVD-19 pandemic has caused an abnormal spike in unemployment all over the world. Many businesses have been forced to temporarily or permanently lay off their workforce. On the other hand, industries such as logistics, healthcare, and essential services are seeing massive growth. This presents an opportunity for industries to manage unemployment rates. Furloughed employees can transfer over to industries that require more employees. In the process, they can also expand their skillsets. These employees can then migrate back to their original industry when the situation becomes stable.
Remote Employee Monitoring and its Pitfalls
With remote working, there is a greater need for employers to monitor employees. After all, the usual checks that ensure productivity are not in play. As a result of this, many employers are using monitoring tools to keep an eye on remote working. While some measure of control is needed, it is a very fine line to walk. It can lead to a deterioration of trust. This can even cause you to lose some of your best talent.
Health and Safety Measures Now a High Priority
Ensuring employee health and safety has never been a greater priority. Certain essential businesses, like Cox Customer Care, have remained open during the pandemic. A look into how they’ve managed this offers a glimpse into the future workplace. There is talk of immunity passports in the UK to allow people to work from the office. Others ensure screening and temperature checks every day. It is safe to say, that the days of catching up at the coffee machine are long gone.