The coronavirus pandemic is forcing corporations to rethink, reimagine and redesign the who, what, where and how of their business models and strategies. But whether or not all the pursuant changes from this disruption—everything from policies and procedures to physical environments and people management—are here to stay remains to be seen.
In the meantime, here are five possible differences in the “everyday normal” that you may encounter (at least temporarily).
A transition to work-from-home flexibility.
Likely to be gone is the strict, in-person, 9-5 workplace culture of many organizations as leadership come to realize their people can indeed be trusted and productive while working from home.
This doesn’t, however, mean a permanent shift to a fully remote state. Rather, it’ll be a transition toward allowing employees greater flexibility to work from home if they so choose. And then (re)building a culture that respects and encourages those choices instead of scrutinizes them.
A new world of talent to explore.
Organizations will begin to embrace a fully flexible work-from-home policy because they’ll quickly realize their employees can be productive, happy and healthy working from anywhere (with the appropriate tools and technology, of course).
This means the days of sourcing talent solely from a local pool—those in close enough proximity to work from a physical office—are likely gone. In its stead is, quite literally, a world of talent from which to recruit the most appropriately skilled employees to fill available roles.
A more stringent corporate travel policy.
For a number of years, many corporations have invested in video conferencing tools in an effort to reduce the huge expense of business travel. In reality, most likely haven’t put those technologies to good use.
Enter the coronavirus and a stop to all travel which forced companies to utilize fully the virtual tools they had in place. The subsequent discovery that most work—previously deemed ‘doable in person only’—can in fact be done virtually will likely mean stricter travel policies.
An altered physical office space.
Collaboration has long been the holy grail of management teams, leading to the ‘open-office’ environment we all know. The likelihood that social distancing is here to stay, however, means you may experience some physical changes when you return.
For example: desks may be spread apart to maintain distance, lines on the floor may be used to demarcate six feet, seating may be removed from conference rooms to cut occupancy, and foot pulls may be added to doors, making them hands-free.
An increase in well-being protocols.
Beyond physical changes to the work environment, companies are likely to ramp up their focus on health and well-being with other protocols. This is especially true as they navigate employees’ continued fears and adhere to government health restrictions.
Some companies are considering providing masks while some explore offering test kits. Others are looking at staggering work schedules and much deeper office cleanings. More controversial options being investigated include contact tracing apps to detect interactions between co-workers and infrared temperature readings.