Unless you are in denial or living under a rock, there is no denying that we are living in unprecedented times. Never has a single issue or phenomenon put an entire civilization into uncertain circumstances. Watching the news and just staying in the same spot for the past couple of weeks could take a toll on one’s well being, let alone productivity. It also doesn’t help that the end to quarantine and lockdown policies has been quite indefinite, at least for the time being.
The thought of going back to our daily routines seems to be distant and unattainable, particularly for the workplace. It is inevitable that once the dust settles, a “new normal” will emerge. Companies and businesses need to adapt to thrive, let alone survive in a post-COVID world.
Here are some of the ways the work ecosystem might look different once companies and their employees go back to (the new) normal, drawn from discussions among our firm’s stakeholders – from employees to clients.
- Fewer large company events, more intimate meetings. Social distancing has affected how people interact with one another. Big company gatherings such as town halls or crowded roundtable discussions might be a thing of the past for now. Expect the prevalence of smaller and more intimate meetings in the post-covid work environment.
- The rise of the virtual sessions. If there’s one thing that has emerged these past few months, it’s the concept of remote work. What was once an option for the workplace has become a widely accepted practice. Thanks to technology, businesses have realized that most functions could indeed still work through asynchronous platforms such as video conference and business communication cloud-based tools.
- A more conservative business approach. The current ECQ lockdown has forced not just individuals to be more prudent and thrifty, but companies as well. Expect Finance and Bookkeeping departments to be a bit more conservative in disbursing the company budget and managing accounts receivables to preserve cash reserves just in case another similar situation arises. Non essential travels and company representation expenses might be limited, if not avoided, at least in the medium-term time period.
- Renewed emphasis on employee healthcare and wellness. While most companies have been practicing health and wellness initiatives even before the pandemic, expect employers to mandate benefits relating to such, rather than just considering it as an added perk. The magnitude of how the crisis has affected not just people’s physical health, but also their mental and spiritual well-being, has made businesses realize that it does affect overall productivity.
- Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene. Companies will be more conscious of their workplace more than ever, just like any household has been these past few months. Firms might want to reconsider open spaces and co-working areas in their offices. Stringent hygiene practices will most likely be imposed, such as temperature checks and mandatory hand sanitizing upon entering the office premises.
This is just a glimpse of how the workplace might look once the economy re-opens. While many would still prefer to return to normalcy, we believe that choosing to adapt to these changes will usher us into a more resilient and thriving world.
Mark Gerard Orga
A business development and marketing professional, Mark’s decade-long experience spans locally and internationally across various industries including stints with multinational companies in the Philippines and technology start-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area.