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How this current pandemic will change the workplace

Monday 04 May 2020 by Gina Le Prevost FIRP DipRP

A large majority of the workforce has had to experience adjusting their working day by operating from home. For a lot of workers, this has been an interesting adaption from a busy office to the corner of the home where they have to keep their laptop or desktop.


Waiting in anticipation of when the pandemic will ease and lockdowns lifted, some workers will be happy to get back to the daily commute and busy office atmosphere, whilst a majority of others have quietly enjoyed the experience and if honest with themselves wish they could work from home forever.
Yet when the official lockdown can finally be eased, one thing is for sure; work life will not simply return to normality in the same way it did before. Companies will have had a taste of whether they can adapt to some or if not all of its staff working remotely, thus saving considerable travel costs and time for staff and possibly downsizing on business premises will result.


Working remotely


Post Covid19 pandemic and going by Deloitte's statement that nearly 90% of workers want to be able to have the choice of working from home all if not some of the time.  Remote and flexible working is now slowly becoming the ‘in’ thing and it appears that many owners of businesses and bosses responsible for their workforce are able to seriously consider the change.  It is still nervous territory for some, but if the clever staff currently working remotely have shown their line managers over the course of the past few weeks that they can be trusted to achieve the same work output or if not more work than their time when in the office, then they may have convinced their employer to resign to the idea.
Historically being in the office has been important for decades. Bosses were expected to think that employees are only able to do their jobs when being closely monitored.   If there is anything positive to come out of the lockdown that is, whilst having devastating effects for many, at it has allowed bosses to see that actually, the vast majority of workers are motivated, and will succeed and don’t need someone to be closely observing them.  It can be possible, therefore, that bosses will no longer view an employee’s success on how long they are working at their desk, but can base it on their end results. If an end result has been a positive one, then does it really matter how the employee got to that point of success?


Digitally enhanced


Conducting conference calls using communication tools such as video conferencing has been a success and doable achieving the same as if you were sat in a meeting room with your work colleagues or clients. These connections aren’t just about basic communications such as email or mobile calls; these pieces of essential work support have been essential and companies are finding that they are able to bolt on other clever devices such as cybersecurity and software which can identify staff work patterns and productivity, so they can control their business still without being in the same place as their workforce.
Zoom has been one of the most successful communication platforms during the lockdown, it has seen a 535% rise in users while social media ie Facebook are soon to be releasing their own video conferencing. It is extremely likely that we will see more and more adaptable devices and software that will enable a better remote work connection over the course of this year.


Work and Life balance


The change to working from home for most has been new and unprecedented. We all lead busy lives and like to spend more time with family, isolating with your loved ones has enabled workers to experience how positive this current work-life balance can be. Before the pandemic, those of us with children were used to missing our children’s bedtimes and parent days at school due to daily commuting so connecting with loved ones whilst isolating and working from home will make workers realise what they have been missing and it will be difficult to return to normality once the lockdown is over.
Time will tell if bosses yield to the concept of a greater work-life balance for their workforce.   Until a successful vaccine can be developed, we are in unchartered waters with the Covid19 virus possibly rearing its head once again.  We must take self-isolation very seriously, to help vulnerable people to survive and save lives.