There's no doubt that the global pandemic in 2020 changed the world forever. Although 2020 was a great challenge for many, the workplace saw a period of extreme progressiveness. We're going to discuss some of these outcomes in more detail within this article. Some of the keyways in which the workplace has changed forever include:
- Better work environments
- Focus on well-being
- Video technology
- Working Remotely
- Better Work Environments
Many workplaces re-assessed what was essential to create a thriving work environment with many large-scale offices out-of-action and essentially empty over a significant period across 2020. The emptiness and space provided a moment for large corporations to declutter and re-organise workspaces to be more open, welcoming, and productive environments. Saving on rent for some offices meant more budget to invest in some essential office requirements, such as whiteboards, ergonomic chairs and desks, and much needed building maintenance or repairs. The result of this was that when employees eventually returned to work, their work environment was welcoming and felt fresh.
As many people from large corporations turned to work from home, so did children from schools and students from the university. Some entire families had to work and learn from home, often all at the same time. Working from home with husbands, kids, and other family members meant that employees had to adapt, and they needed to do it quick-smart. And so came the integration of authentic flexible working arrangements into 2020.
If workplaces weren't quick to adapt to the 'new normal' and implement the right technology and tools to allow their employees to work flexibly from home, then they were quick to fall behind. Not only did employees have to quickly adapt to new and often cramped or distracting working arrangements, so too did their employers. Without systems and processes that allowed their employees to work and adjust to different situations in their home environment, employers lost their employees' loyalty.
- Well-being and Work-Life Balance
In general, not just in the workforce but in general, holistic well-being was a huge focus in 2020. We have seen the repercussions of this in 2021, where we know the de-glorification of hustle culture and the idea of being 'busy', meaning that you are successful. Rather than expecting enormous output from their employees, workplaces re-focussed on well-being and work-life balance.
Although it took a global pandemic to see a shift in priorities from glorifying being a 'workaholic' to spending more quality time with family and friends and separating work and personal life, we think it's a shift in the workplace that is here to stay.
- Video Technology
Technological advancements and the use of better video technology saw a massive shift in 2020. Things that were initially considered a critical face-to-face meeting or discussion can now be conducted via video technology. For example, a doctor visit was previously commonly regarded as impossible to achieve over the phone because doctors needed to be present to understand your symptoms truly. Well, we can officially say that we busted this myth entirely in 2020.
With video calls becoming the norm, we expect to see more critical appointments being conducted over video calls. In the workplace, we can now be wholly connected to everyone, everywhere, at any given time. The beauty of video technology is that it doesn't anchor you to a time or place. There can be people sitting in a boardroom from all over the world chiming in on a video conference call. Conference meetings via video have always been considered a relatively regular part of running a large corporation. However, we expect to see this become more and more prevalent ongoing. Workplaces would be wise to adapt to remote working and re-consider the international hiring opportunities they previously thought impossible. There is a massive pool of global talent out there waiting to be discovered.
- Working Remotely
Whether we like it or not, working remotely is the new norm and likely to be an integral part of workplace safety in the future. Some leading global organisations have proved that they can be more productive when working from home due to fewer distractions around the workplace.
Not only does working remotely increase productivity in some workplaces, but it also saves employees valuable travel time and costs. We know that less commute time in the car is one of the critical factors influencing employee's contentedness in the workplace.
So, there you have it - there are just five ways in which the pandemic has changed the workplace forever. Whether you believe the workplace has changed for the better or the worse, one thing is clear; new working conditions are here to stay.