The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted entire labour markets, bringing about unprecedented human and humanitarian challenges. The obstacles associated with social distancing and mask-wearing, along with the fear and the uncertainty that came along with these changes to the daily routine, have forced the adoption of new ways of working, with organisations needing to redefine their new rules for work. Businesses have had to act swiftly in order to protect employees, and the business itself, migrating to new ways of working that even the most extreme of contingency plans didn’t quite cover. This begs the question: what will work after Covid-19 look like?
The world is now focused on vaccinating people against the Covid-19 virus. Reaching herd immunity has become the sole goal for Earth, in an attempt to fight against time. 70-85% of the population must be immunised for this goal to be reached, and the fight against time is because of the constantly developing mutations that are taking hold in countries across the world. Almost every day, we see the appearance of more mutations to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that makes it more contagious, and that can weaken the impact of these very vaccines.
However, as the vaccination drive rages strongly across the world, we are slowly returning back to the norm. The workplace changes we’ve seen during Covid-19 aren’t yet permanent, but we’re heading in that direction; a direction that’s heading towards Workplace 2.0. This article explores some of the changes that make up the advent of Workplace 2.0, and the changes that will come with working after Covid-19.
Businesses have turned to ordering employees to work from home. This was one of the trends that was already catching on, but Covid-19 accelerated its ubiquity across the world. Working after Covid-19 is sure to feature more remote working, as leaders are using the lessons from this large-scale work-from-home experiment to reimagine how work can be done in creative and bold ways.
Remote working has various benefits. From an employer’s point of view, labour opportunities are not confined by geographical location; you can look anywhere in the world for the right candidate. This includes opportunities to employ people in countries that have a lower cost of living, which could result in a decrease in the offered wage.
Remote working also offers employees certain flexibility that many have been clamouring for. This results in an increase in productivity, as the employees are happier to work for the company. Removing the need for a commute, often one that takes a sizeable portion out of an employee’s day, reduces their stress, expenses, and increases the time in their day to do more productive and healthy activities.
If you need more convincing on all the benefits of remote working, you can read our helpful guide on how remote working is reshaping the world of work after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Remote work doesn’t mean that business meetings come to a halt; it means turning to digital alternatives and holding virtual meetings. Remote meetings are sure to form part of working after Covid-19, especially since they go hand-in-hand with remote working.
Remote meetings increase opportunities to attend the meetings you otherwise couldn’t always attend, due to restrictions of time and distance. The number of attendees is sure to increase when meetings are conducted online.
It’s also cost-efficient, as all attendees need are a technological device and an Internet connection. Hosting a meeting requires an adequate meeting space, time, Internet connection, maybe even refreshments, and many other considerations that must be met.
Work after Covid is sure to include remote meetings also because of the technological platforms that are now being offered to us. The possibilities are endless, with features that can spark creativity and add communicative ease. These features include things such as a whiteboard, being able to show images, videos, presentations, and other such aspects. This ability to utilise such features adds to the freeing sense of communicative ease, with each person deciding exactly how they’d like to bring across their message.
There are a number of platforms that have emerged as the remote-meeting winners amongst companies and individuals. You can view our helpful guide here.
Online shopping boom
As lockdowns became the new normal, consumers have turned to ordering their goods and services online, raising e-commerce’s share of global retail trade from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020. This was revealed in the findings published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Following the pandemic, more than half of the survey’s respondents now shop online more frequently.
Even now, in 2021, online fashion retail is seeing 78.2% higher online sales than in March 2020. This is up 10.9% from April 2021, showing a sign of the pent up demand that consumers are experiencing as the pandemic is now close to ending, with summer just around the corner. Food stores have also seen a huge online growth compared to March 2020. Online food store shopping went up by 105%, household goods stores went up by 99.7%, when compared to March 2020.
This shows that work is sure to centre more around online retail rather than brick-and-mortar stores.
Culture and distancing
The change in culture due to Covid-19 is sure to stay with us when working after the pandemic. The Japanese have long felt comfortable covering their faces, even prior to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. It has been a habit that has been widely practiced for over a century, and was initially rooted in religious festivals. Now, it is seen as a considerate and polite thing to do, especially if they have a cold or something similar. It is done to protect the people around them. We could certainly take leaves out of Japan’s book, and wear a mask whenever we feel sick.
Work culture must also shift to a more adaptable one. Workplaces must increasingly understand how to navigate the mix of hub, home, and hybrid work arrangements, in order to ensure flexibility for their employees.