This year 2020 will be a memorable one as the most traumatic, life-changing experience for many of us – especially for the workforce. It doesn’t matter which industry you’re from, every employee in the world is at least at one point, affected. The pandemic Covid-19 has already brought an end to many decades, or generations-old-habits, and one of them is how would we work in the new working environment?
A survey run by Global Workplace Analytics indicates that 30 percent of people will work multiple days per week at home within the next couple of years. So, how does the changing working environment spell for you as an employee moving forward? Let’s explore them.
You Can Say Hello To:
No. 1: Working From Home, Permanently
Getting adjusted working at your couch area in your comfy pajamas with a sizzling cup of coffee? With the easy accessibility of working files and communication channels established with your colleagues, you can work from home, for the rest of your life. Such working arrangements may or may not be for everyone. However, one thing’s for sure -no more long-distance commutes to communal offices!
Next, your technology equipment might need a little more upgrading such as sound system, microphone, lighting, software, or signing up for a paid video conferencing subscription. As you’ll be spending more time in virtual meetings, your Internet speed too can either make or break your presentation’s success.
If you’re about to purchase a new home soon, then perhaps it’s time to start saving up some money to configure parts or allocate an additional room as your functional work-from-home space.
No. 2: New Work Policies and Regulations
Many employees yearn for more available long-term working flexibility options, and now we have it. Therefore, instead of being your mandatory 9-5 clock in office – your organisation’s headquarters will be the conference and community centers. Taking heed of the serious decline of employees’ mental health due to heightened work stress, companies are placing work-life balance as a priority.
This is great news for many working parents and single mothers so that they can spend more time with their families. You should no longer be pressured to respond to emails or messages at all hours of the day. As it has proven that work-life balance improves productivity, a certain amount of hours should only be for work, and the rest dedicated to recharging.
Nevertheless, who says you can’t return to the office? We will miss the social interactions that often foster creativity and innovation – they can still be celebrated through events of togetherness and unity, with social distancing policies closely observed.
No.3: Your Office Space’s New Look
Or, if working from home isn’t ideal for you – you can look forward to returning to the office. Be prepared though, to enter into an unrecognisable space. Experts predicted the pandemic could result in the reversal of “open office trends”.
You’ll have to start feeling comfortable with voice recognition-enabled doors and lifts, a room full of dividers and barriers, social distancing markers on the floor and tables, well-spaced desks of at least 1 meter from one another, hand-sanitisers placed at every entrance and frequent temperature checks. Meeting rooms and kitchens will display fewer seats and you’ll see more cleanings carried out.
No. 4: Increased Use of Technologies
Before Covid-19, it is only natural that physical interaction is always preferred over video conferences, calls, or messages. With the sudden wave of the pandemic, employees are left with little to no choice but forced to adapt or become accustomed to available technologies to stay connected such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, IM, email, or instant messaging. People are willing to spend time and be patient in learning new technologies, quickly discovering it as their new agile way of communication.
This has successfully proven that without the help of technology, we won’t be able to continue establishing such connections through this challenging period. So, you might need to get used to virtual assistant AI such as Amazon Alexa taking over simple human tasks. Need to switch off all the lights in the room? Alexa will do it for you. How about filling up the room with your favorite music? Alexa is on it.
With these technologies in place, automation now is not only possible but necessary. However, this might then open up another spiraling hole in human resources – are we then headed into a new age of unemployment?
And Wave Goodbye to (Till Things Returned to Our Usual Normal):
No. 5: Close Human Contact
Till we can safely say that pandemic is over, courteous gestures such as handshakes and hugs will be a thing of the past. Here’s what they will be replaced with – a new form of greeting will be to salute, wave your hands, or place your hands over your heart as what some countries do.
No matter how difficult it may be in refraining yourself from extending our arms, you must remind yourself not to do it – for the safety of everyone around you!
No. 6: Business Travels, or Any Forms of Overseas Travel
As large group events are still not yet permitted, the increased popularity of telecommuting has certainly got people thinking – “Perhaps we don’t need to resort to traveling just to discuss over something? They can be done over video meetings.”
Travel expenses can take up a big chunk of many organisational budgets. Since conferences and conventions will be halted at least for the foreseeable future together, many companies will not see the need for their employees to go for business trips anytime soon.
No. 7: Reduced Levels of Bureaucratic-Management
Never like how certain levels of bureaucracy get in the way of your work? You can then look forward to hollowing out of middle management, similar to what happened during the 2008 global financial crisis. If required, you can arrange for a virtual meeting with the top management such as CEOs, Directors, to discuss ideas or obtain approvals – or even through one phone call away.
However, don’t be too happy yet! Many organisations still opinioned that a solid management structure is vital in productivity. There is an underlying fear that if middle management is eliminated, this will result in increased chances of errors, oversight, and mismanagement. Companies still recognise talented, hardworking individuals as imperative in leading the departments.
So there you have it! The invisible line that separates work and the personal line has certainly faded. Whether you like it or not, the new adjustments are quickly settling in and it’s up to you on which options you think works best for you.
Either way, remember to stay safe, adhere to the established rules and guidelines, and also – if you haven’t- it is time to value the importance of human connection with your loved ones more than ever.