How COVID has changed the workplace forever. But it’s not all bad…

The Coronavirus has had a huge impact on us as individuals, a society and as a workforce.  And while we will eventually return to some sort of normality, some things will become the ‘new normal’ – especially when it comes to the way we work.

Unlike anything that’s happened in our time, the Coronavirus is unique in the sense that it’s affected the whole world for a long period of time. Which means that the subsequent changes to the way we live and work are likely to last forever.

Here are 5 ways the workplace is likely to change for good…

1. Remote and flexible working
COVID made many companies realise that staff can operate just as (if not more) efficiently by working from home. Some companies have downsized their office spaces while others have completely adopted remote working.

And when the pandemic passes, working from home will still remain popular with professionals—even those that were not the biggest fans of having a virtual workforce.

While we won’t see a full move to remote work, flexibility will be the new mantra— giving people more freedom to choose where and when they work.

2. Evolve and adapt with speed
One thing the Coronavirus made clear was that companies are capable of making changes fast when forced to. Before COVID, decision-making processes typically took a lot longer for the average business, with multiple discussions, planning, negotiations and meetings before anything actually gets done. But COVID forced us to adapt and evolve quickly – not because we wanted to but because we had to.

3. Emphasis on safety
With rumours of a second wave, many workplaces have enforced new health and safety measures to keep staff, customers and clients safe. From regular deep cleaning, hand sanitisation stations, regular temperature checks and social distancing measures. Who knows how long these measures will last but they’re likely to be around for the foreseeable future.

4. In-person meetings are no longer essential
Before COVID, the average worker (particularly management roles) would spend a lot of time participating in meetings – and that’s without having to commute. But during the pandemic, most of us realised that everything that needs to be discussed can actually be done over zoom call or email.

In fact, with less time wasted in unnecessarily long meetings, productively has increased in the workplace. While face-to-face meetings won’t be completely eradicated, more and more will take place digitally.

5. Diversifying skill sets
Most businesses realise that upskilling and right-skilling are essential for innovation and strategic advantage. But with more businesses adopting social distancing measures and some being forced to reduce their staff due to the current recession, many will need to utilise the workforce they have as best as possible. This could mean training current staff to manage more than one role by increasing their skills in different areas of the business.

How has your workplace changed because of COVID?