Every day, we are learning ways to adapt to the new reality we’re living in, working from home as we social distance and self-quarantine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a global workforce, what we’re doing is reinventing in real-time our workplace dynamics and habits.
Over the past few months, the pandemic has shown to those that only need their laptops to work, that they can easily work from home – relying on email, chats, and videoconferencing to quickly communicate with colleagues.
It looks like many more people will stay home, fully wired on mobile phones, laptops, and other devices. This makes total sense, given the fact that we’ve seen this dynamic in the past: when a major event happens that poses an existential threat, many of the norms of life change, some in the short term and some for the long term.
Here, the New Normal may offer creative ways to form work-communities and friendlier relationships with colleagues.
But as employees’ working routines have changed, the coronavirus may influence all elements of how we work for the next 5 to 10 years, perhaps even permanently. Let’s get some considerations on the table!
Those that could quickly figure out how to work from home. When the pandemic subsides, WFH will remain popular with professionals, and that will force companies to become more flexible. Now that more people have had a taste of it and proven their productivity, it will be hard for companies to take it away from their talent. A Gallup survey revealed that 54% of U.S. workers would leave their current job for one that allowed them to work remotely.
Also – many employees won’t return to the office even after the pandemic is under control – and the need for physical workspaces and paper files will decrease. For example, Google declared the majority of its employees would continue working from home until 2021, and in a Gartner survey in March 2020, 74% of CFOs expect to shift some employees to remote work permanently.
And while professionals were celebrating their 30-second commute, it became clear to companies that the huge line item on their spreadsheets for real estate may not be the best way to spend their money. Having people work from home is proving to be profitable!
It really looks like flexibility will be the new mantra. More on this later…
Many professionals found WFH a challenge not because of isolation, but because they didn’t have the ideal space or a dedicated home office. They didn’t have a Zoom-ready spot for video meetings. A study by GetApp reports that the majority of survey respondents cited a lack of proper technology for remote work that hindered their success and productivity.
One of the biggest challenges people experienced while WFH was internet performance. WhistleOut revealed that 35% of those surveyed said that weak Internet has prevented them from doing their work at some point during the Coronavirus crisis and 43% said they have had to use their phone as a hotspot during the crisis.
Internet in homes will improve, drastically and quickly. Home offices and even home video studios will become a priority. As new homes are built or existing ones are remodeled, WFH considerations will be the top priority for multiple new build developers moving forward
Technology will once again come to rescue – and if you want to get an example of a thing you haven’t already thought of, check this one from Argodesign out.
Learn How Beem Delivers Value to Globally Dispersed Workforces
Accelerated Digital Transformation & E-learning
COVID-19 is forcing companies to accelerate their transformation to be all-digital globally. Everyone should have access to the same information to do their jobs, which can eliminate a lot of presentations covering known information, enabling people to focus on resolving important issues in shorter, online meetings. There is no need for those long presentations, as agendas are more focused, enabling meeting times to be cut dramatically.
Videos have finally become fully integrated into the work experience, showing us additional learning patterns during our workdays.
And part of these patterns will encompass how learning will be impacted: many organizations realized that upskilling and right-skilling are essential for innovation and strategic advantage, especially when resources are scarce, and exploiting technology to do so is the best way to get the most out of these challenging times.
In-person learning programs won’t go away, sure, but they’ll be reserved for certain functions and certain populations within the company. Face-to-face learning will likely be just a small element of a learning curriculum.
Ramping up their e-learning platforms, companies will move quickly to ensure that their people will still be building important skills and developing professionally!
Key Workers and Front-Line Workforces
This demographic is certainly one of Beem’s primary user profiles, but when it comes to predicting the long-lasting changes to this community it gets tricky to forecast with anything more than an educated estimate.
We don’t foresee a large shift away from or decline in the total global population of this workforce. On the contrary, we’ve seen this demographic increase as some of the corporate brands were forced into furloughing or widespread layoffs. We sense shifting changes to the way that front-line working days are structured. Most likely with normalized adoption of PPE and a fuller level of commitment to how technology will assist not only in the physical demands of their daily works but also how to ensure virus safety through tracking and tagging events via the use of technologies
Parallel to this is the effect on mental health and wellness of this community. We will likely see far more convincing adoption of employee communication solutions by front-line orientated brands to provide an ecosystem of employee tools in and around the use cases provided as a consequence of COVID. Which will only be a fantastic thing.
In essence, we see the front-line being more digitally and seamlessly connected throughout their companies!
The Job Market
If you can do your work in California or Connecticut just as well, what stops someone in Chile, India, or Latvia from being a good fit for the job? When you can work from home, you could potentially work from anywhere, which means the job market could become truly globalized.
We have seen global completion for talent for the most strategic jobs for a long time, but definitely not for every job. For most jobs, there has been a limited local talent pool. A global job market could mean that there could potentially be thousands of applicants, and they could be from anywhere in the country, or indeed in the world.
Also, many tech companies with headquarters in places like Silicon Valley pay premium salaries to their workforce since the cost of living is higher there than elsewhere in the country. If employees are able to work from anywhere, do salaries get adjusted to the cost of living in the area, they choose to live? This isn’t easily answered. Does this benefit the company or the employee? Also, how will companies adjust their in-office benefits such as free drinks/snacks, company lunches, and more to offer similar benefits to those who work remotely?
These are interesting questions every company and employee will be reflecting on as working from home becomes the more widely accepted New Normal!
For all the difficulties that COVID-19 brought, this turmoil is unlocking innovation. These new ways of working more efficiently not only will change the nature of the workplace but will make companies more effective.
Companies who figure out how to use today’s adversity to invent tomorrow’s workplace will be the ones that prosper in the long term!