While only essential businesses kept their door open during the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses continued to operate having employed a Work-From-Home protocol. At the beginning of the self-isolation, organizations were focusing on how they shift all operations to digital while maintaining output and productivity. It is said that it takes 40 days to adopt a new habit; we have passed that period, meaning that going back to the office will also take some adjustment.
Employees will be back to a structured routine like having to commute. Beyond that, things will not go back to normal immediately, schools and daycares will likely remain closed a while longer, there will be a looming concern of catching the virus, and certain extracurriculars will remain closed not giving people a healthy work-life balance. Here are 4 things that will change when people return to work.
Distancing and Sanitization in the workplace
Although businesses will begin to return to regular office work, the conditions of the return will not be normal. Fears of Covid-19 will linger for months on end, as there is the potential for one person putting all other employees and the business as a whole at risk, considerations will have to be made to prevent the spread of disease. In the office, social distancing will be an important consideration; increasing distance between desks, no meeting in small offices, larger gaps when chatting. Extra care into sanitizing workspaces will have to be put in place to ensure employees are kept healthy and feel comfortable coming into the office. Simple things like making sure employees have hand sanitizer and eating food at their workstation can reduce the spread of disease.
Hybridizing the workplace
While businesses could return to work, it is likely that schools and daycares will remain closed for much longer. Employees with young children will be unable to return to work because they need to take care of their children. With this in mind, it is important that you have systems in place to hybridize the workplace as some may have the ability to return to the office and others will be forced to be at home. Additionally, other employees may feel more comfortable working from home, be used to that routine, and may wish to slowly transition back. Unfortunately, for the companies that found it difficult to digitize their workforce will face similar challenges. Use the learnings from COVID-19 to begin your Digital Transformation program as the dust begins to settle.
People will have become attached to working at home, make the office somewhere they would miss.
As the government mandated quarantine has lasted months people have gotten comfortable working in the safety of their homes. People will be reluctant to return to the office especially if social distancing is still in place. This can be used as an opportunity to make people appreciate the office. Studies have shown that natural light, plants, and the color of the workplace can have a positive impact on the mood of employees. As people can be under a lot of stress at this time implementing these changes will improve the mood of employees and increase productivity. Making design changes to a work environment will not only impact employees during their return but have a lasting impact on their mood due to their natural response to the environment.
Reliance on digital technology, marketing, and communication
Face to face business will likely continue to be limited and will cause businesses to jump through many hoops to have success once work returns to normal. As business during quarantine was conducted digitally, companies will be more comfortable with this format. Ensuring that your business is digitally functional will be necessary so business can still be operational while being safe. Connecting with customers online will become the new norm for businesses as it is direct and efficient. In a time with limited travel and many working from home businesses will need to take advantage of this and elevate their standard operating procedures to a higher digital standard.