The Future of Work in the Post COVID-19 World – How Employees and Employers will Adjust
The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on many aspects of society, fundamentally changing how it works. Not only did the health sector get badly hit, but the economy as a whole suffered from this unforeseen circumstance. Many industries such as tourism, entertainment, oil and gas, retail, food, and beverages tanked as people were mandated to stay at home.
Mass gatherings have been limited for everyone’s safety, and this has taken a toll on teams and workers who relied on having face-to-face interaction to carry out their tasks. Those who were lucky enough were able to transition their operations online, giving the opportunity of remote work for employees.
Things Will Never Be the Same
As grim as it sounds, there is a reason why people keep referring to the phrase “new normal.” The reality is, things will not go back to the way it used to be. The pandemic shed light on new areas in businesses that entrepreneurs might not have seen before, and it also gave employees a lot to think about with their career and work opportunities.
As such, both parties will need to adjust and find other avenues that will allow them to thrive and grow, so they are not met with the same problems in the future should another similar crisis happen. If there is one silver lining to this pandemic, though, it’s that it once again proved that humans are great in adapting—and there will come a time when this will be all over.
While that is yet to happen, it is important to recognize that majority are still in the transition phase. There are two sides to every story, and in this article, we will discuss how both employees and employers will navigate work after the pandemic dies down. Some of these changes have already been applied, but would likely be reinforced once it is safe for everyone to meet in person again.
How Employees Will Adjust in the Post-COVID Workspace
Below are some of the things that employees will do or look for to better fare in the post-pandemic world.
- Dual work setups will be favored
Some people prefer remote work while others fare better in an office setting, but because the pandemic disrupted everyone’s previous definition of normal, things are bound to change. Those who used to enjoy going to the office now fear stepping out due to possible infection, while others who love staying at home find it challenging to destress without stepping outside for a breather.
An emerging trend is employees favoring companies who can provide both office and remote setups so they can better manage their time. This could also help solve the problem of having a divided workforce when the time comes that people report back to the office—half might be excited to go back while the rest might just not be ready.
- Stricter work-life boundaries will be set
One of the pitfalls of working from home is the seemingly non-existent boundaries of working hours. Employees might be attending to work tasks, but they could also be arranging things in their personal lives. Things might be a bit more forgiving now, but once things go back to normal and remote work proves to be feasible, employees will demand stricter hours enforced during work.
This means precise logoff times and no response to messages beyond a specified period. This is necessary in establishing workflows that will allow employees to feel that there is a separation from work and their personal lives—and employers are expected to understand this. Working from home does not equal automatic availability.
- More employees will turn to part-timing and freelancing
To recuperate from the financial losses they have experienced at the peak of the pandemic, many would start looking into other sources of income. As such, they will be seeking flexible employers who can treat them with trust that they can still accomplish the tasks from their primary job, instead of shaming them for doing extra.
Some employers still do not support staff who may have side hustles, but due to the circumstances, this behavior will be impossible to stop. Being at home has also helped people save time from commuting or frequent traveling, opening themselves to more opportunities they would have never otherwise agreed to.
- Employee-centric organizations will be flocked on
Many were left unemployed due to the pandemic, and the hunt for new work and better job opportunities will continue long after this. Employees will look for organizations that value their safety and welfare—companies that care. This refers to more than just the published benefits on a job ad, but genuine experiences from people in the workspace.
- Another adjustment period will commence
Employers are mistaken if they think that their staff can adjust to things at a snap of a finger. After months of working from home and establishing new processes, it will be difficult to just hop back to the way things used to be.
Employees will have to adjust once again to the new policies and rules of work after the pandemic, especially once things are a bit more stable.
- New skills will be learned
The pandemic has also caused the shift in the careers of many working individuals, with some permanently losing the chance to find work in the industry they were initially in.
Because of this, many workers are going to find the time to study and sharpen new skillsets that will land them jobs in the post-COVID era. The majority of this will be remote work that will allow them to keep up with the digital times.
How Employers Will Adjust in the Post-COVID Workspace
Just like how employees will adjust, companies have a big task of providing great and safe places to work for people while simultaneously achieving their business goals.
- Investing in high-tech comm tools will be a must
Some companies are only now witnessing the power of remote work via technology and communication tools. As companies test out software and processes that work for them, there is no doubt that they will reach a point where they need to invest and pay for cloud technology that will work for their business. This will also support the future need of employees preferring dual work setups.
The use of communication tools for remote work is a critical component in making sure your business fares well moving forward. This also means revisiting your process and seeing what is sustainable for long-term processes.
- Pay more attention to digital marketing efforts
Now, more than ever, businesses are seeing what it is like for their profiles to be visible and easily accessible online. If you were not paying much attention to your social media profiles before, that is not possible to do anymore.
People are increasingly doing business online because of multiple closures of brick-and-mortar stores. It will be in your best interest to see how your company can live and thrive online as well.
If you have not done much digital work before, this could mean reevaluating your efforts, seeing where you can inject online marketing in your business strategy moving forward, and establishing online presence.
- Be more open to employee needs and suggestions
The pandemic also showed community building and proved how people need each other to weather any storm. Employers will have to admit to themselves that they may not know all the answers for navigating the new normal in the future—and that is okay. It is time for managers to be more receptive to employee suggestions and projects so they can emerge from the new setup successfully.
This does not just apply to the way things are being run in the business but also listening to how staff can be more comfortable at work. It could be in the form of allowances, health insurance support for affected employees, and the like. Be prepared to make room for things like this in your budget plan.
- Review protocols for a safe work environment
If employers are planning to resume office operations and let people interact with each other face-to-face, there has to be a high-level standard of safety protocols in place. Businesses have to invest in regular disinfection, distanced work areas, and healthcare insurance policies for their employees.
This will ensure a safer working place that people will be more comfortable to return to and that any future risk of getting sick will be prevented.
- Create a business plan for future similar scenarios
There is no telling when the next pandemic will happen and what type of danger it will present to the public. Businesses have to stay agile and create a business plan that will include actions in case something like this hit their industry again. Stability is vital for both business owners and employees, so creating a plan around crisis management and prevention will do any industry well.
The Future is Not Set in Stone
It is hard to predict what the post-COVID era will look like, but there is no doubt that the workforce will recover in time. What changes are you already seeing in your company today? Your experience shared will be greatly appreciated.