It’s been well over a year now since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the workplace, and world, forever.
It’s safe to say that COVID has had an enormous impact on every single industry and every single family. Even though we may have gotten used to the “new normal” by now, these changes are still tricky to navigate because at the end of the day that’s exactly what they are – changes.
Although this pandemic has had mostly negative impacts, we believe there is a positive silver lining. Some of the changes we’ve seen may actually lead to a brighter and better future. As the decades roll on we are sure we’ll face new challenges that will continue to evolve our society. However, this blog will be focusing on five main ways that COVID impacted the business workplace, and how you can stay on top of the trends.
Working From Home Is Not Going Anywhere
Working from home is here to stay. This trend has changed the workplace as companies realize that it is entirely possible to continue business as (somewhat) usual while their employees work from home. This allows companies to save potentially millions of dollars on real estate.
One of the biggest challenges from WFH was actually not social isolation or lack of motivation. In fact, the biggest problem of WFH was not having an ideal space to work from, or the proper equipment necessary for the work. This includes a Zoom-ready spot for video meetings. Also a study by GetApp reported that a majority of people cited a lack of proper technology which hindered their ability to be productive and successful.
Businesses also know that they can trust their employees to get the job done. Traditionally employers may have thought that when people are not in the office they tend to slack off. That has proven not to be the case as many companies met the goals they had when they were physically in the office.
Of course we all still seek and require person-to-person contact, and for creative collaboration it can almost be necessary. Yet still, many business proved that by working together with constant virtual communication, it is possible to be a successful company while spending minimal time together s a team in an office.
Standard 9-5 Hours… Why?
As people work from home and juggle their work life with their home life they are starting to realize how unnecessary standard 9-5 hours are. It will be hard to deny employees flexibility when they are getting their work done simply because employers are not around to see them work.
Parents now have the ability to spend more time with their children at home, and as long as they’re still getting their work done it’s not a problem for employers. As long as employers keep meeting their targets we anticipate they are going to care less and less about when people are doing their work. This realization surely changed the workplace forever.
The rise of remote/outsourced work also attributed to this factor, as many companies began working with employees in different time zones. This forced many employers to see that strictly watching over employee hours rather than worrying about their targets can be a detriment. Regularly scheduled meetings or check-ins are the only ‘standards’ of working time that will maintain. With the exception of those meetings, who cares if you’re getting your work done from 9-5 or 5-9, as long as it gets done.
Frequent Business Trips Are A Thing Of The Past
As we know, one of the industries hit the hardest by the pandemic has been airlines. Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t look like business travel is ever going to return to what it once was. Once we started quarantining it seems that everyone realized how efficient zoom meetings really are. Not to mention they cost a fraction of a fraction of what traveling for a meeting costs.
That’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. Cost vs efficiency. A company would much rather have their sales people on a Zoom call working from home that costs nothing compared to flying across the country and staying at an expensive hotel.
When business travel becomes a thing of the past, so does jet lag. Jet lag is bad for people’s physical health and it is something that employers can avoid putting on their employees with virtual meetings. Jet lag disorder affects your circadian rhythm, which affects your sleep, which affects every other moment of your waking life.
More Leadership Seen From All Team Members
Working remotely has also increased a demand in every member of every team to step up and be a leader. With more freedom comes more responsibility. Since we are all working from our own homes, we have more freedom than we ever could have imagined when working in the office.
Under one roof it was much easier to have centralized leadership. There was always constant supervision by a few people. Now COVID has changed the workplace, everyone is under their own roof and we are witnessing a decentralization of leadership.
This has resulted in people from all teams needing to step up and demonstrate leadership. When the managers aren’t just steps away in their office, teams have had to rely more on one another as much as themselves. If everyone is stepping up to the challenge it fosters an environment with collaborative leadership which is great for any professionals personal development.
A Less Formal Work Environment
In a strange turn of events, being more physically distant to one another has brought us closer together in some ways. We peer into the lives of our colleagues every time we see their home through a Zoom call, and we’re acting much closer because of it.
In other words, humans are finally acting more human with one another in the corporate world. There are less rules about what we wear to work; sweatsuits have replaced real suits. In fact, 60% of Americans teleworking report wearing sweats daily. People are swearing more in less casual meetings, and just generally showing a higher level of comfort as well as more of their “true selves” when compared to how they acted in an office.
The world has changed and it changed the workplace with it. COVID forced us to realize that there were business solutions in front of us the whole time that we were not leveraging. Now that we’ve realized how successful they’ve been, there’s no good reason to return to some of the things we were doing before the pandemic.