Life after COVID won’t ever be the same. Already we have heard the common sayings of ‘pre-COVID’ and ‘post-COVID’. But how will the pandemic change the workspace and how we operate remotely, in shared spaces or in regular working environments? We take a look at a few ways our work life has and will continue to adapt due to COVID.
Due to the global pandemic, at some point in 2020, a large majority of us started working from home. Working from home, which was once only the reality for a small number of individuals, was now being encouraged on a company-wide and global scale. COVID saw us trade our ‘traditional’ working life for a new way of working, and it happened rapidly.
Why has it taken us so long to see the benefits in flexible work and working from home? This has greatly been due to company concerns over productivity, lack of resources and the age-old problem of doing things the way they have always been done.
Company concerns over employee productivity whilst working from home quickly vanished. A survey of 5000 workers in Australia, France, Germany, Italy and the UK revealed the majority of individuals believe remote working will become much more widespread when COVID ends. The survey found that many individuals were surprised by how strong their productivity was and 70% of individuals saying they worked longer hours because they found extra time to focus on work which was usually void due to travel times, unnecessary meetings, work distractions and personal appearance.
Technology has provided us with the ability to literally work from anywhere. The old understanding that people had to be face-to-face and in the same room to ‘meet’ was quickly abolished due to COVID. We had to adapt to working and to communicate through other means such as video conferencing, phone calls, text and email. What did we learn from these experiences? They work! Too often we got caught up in doing what has always been done and did not see the benefits in other methods. Less time in meetings and travelling between those meetings means more time to spend productively on other elements.
Moving forward post-COVID we will see more and more individuals and businesses opting for flexible work, whether that is part-time or full-time working from home, flexible hours or alternate locations such as shared spaces. No longer do large corporations need hundreds of employees in one place at the one time. Shared offices with flexible hours will be able to provide businesses with the facilities they need on a more flexible and adaptable scale. We got a taste for a different way of working during COVID, and for many, there are endless possibilities to the way our work life will adopt moving forward.