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Health and safetyOctober 8, 2020
COVID-19 has created numerous changes across society already. Moving forward, it has the potential to create even more changes across the workplace. It’s not just about increased sanitation across workplaces. COVID-19 has the potential to transform the way many employees and employers interact within the workplace on a regular basis.
Eventually, treatments will emerge for COVID-19. A vaccine will be created. People will not necessarily need to work from home anymore. Nevertheless, many people around the world will be prepared to work from home–and in fact, chances are, they will want it. An average 24% of people either want to transition to working from home entirely or want to work at home more often. Thanks to the health crisis and shutdowns, many of them have made the space to do it over the past several months, setting up the technology they need to continue working from home, which means they’re more prepared to take on that challenge.
Immediately following the return to work, many people will be more eager to engage with one another again. While some of that will fade over time as employees get used to the return to a physical office space, the spirit of collaboration in the office is likely to continue. Offices may focus more on providing employees with the opportunity to work together, rather than on each employee completing his job each day in isolation.
Many employers have become more aware, throughout the health crisis, of their role in keeping employees both physically and mentally healthy. As a result, many employers will review their workplace wellness policies and make sure they’re taking the right steps to protect employees’ overall health, whether that means increased hygiene in the office or improved policies designed to help with employees’ mental health. Employers may allow employees more space to manage mental health concerns, including offering the space to work from home when needed or providing employees with the space to air their concerns.
Thanks to COVID-19, many employers have taken a closer look at what they really want their employees to accomplish each day and how it impacts them. Employers have carefully evaluated job roles and responsibilities as well as what it takes to fill those roles. They have learned exactly what jobs can be completed successfully from home and what jobs benefit from in-person interaction in the workplace.
In many cases, they have learned that employees can manage more flexibility than they initially thought. Across many organisations, employees will not make a full return to work in the office, the way they once did. Instead, their employers will offer additional flexibility: permitting employees to have more say over the hours when they actually come in to work each day, for example, or offering employees the ability to work from home as needed. Some employers may shift the way they think about bringing employees into the office, including shrinking the number of employees who actually work in the office each day, while others may simply provide more choices for their employees.
COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions have provided many people with the opportunity to further their learning virtually. They have taken virtual classes, attended virtual seminars, and even gone through training virtually, rather than having to attend in-person classes. Many employees, with more time on their hands, have looked for new opportunities to engage in that important training. In other cases, employers have used downtime to provide additional training to all of their employees. Not only have more businesses learned the benefits of offering virtual training options for their employees, virtual training has been improved and refined, which means that the technology can provide additional opportunities for the people who use it. Equally importantly, many organisations have found ways to cut the costs associated with virtual training. As a result, e-learning opportunities will increase.
COVID-19, like many previous crises, has created unprecedented change around the world. Some of that change will fade with time, as people become less cautious and life goes back to normal. Other changes, however, are here to stay. By preparing your workplace for a new normal, you can streamline your response and make it easier to manage those changes.