As more and more communities loosen the lockdown restrictions put in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 crisis, it is clear to see that not everything will return to what it once was. One of the things that will change is how we work. From an increase in remote work options to enhancing diversity in the workplace COVID’s impact on our lives will be felt for a long, long time.
Remote work options, which were once an unusual arrangement, were already growing before COVID. Statistics show the number of people working from home has grown 117 percent over the past 15 years. That is 11 percent more than other workforce scenarios, including self-employment. Some studies have found that 43 percent of employees work from home at least some of the time. What we have seen with COVID is a wide-scale demonstration of the success of remote work. Those lessons will alter the face of work for many organizations.
Ways work will change after COVID
Employers are discovering that employees can work productively from home. And many employees are discovering they like the flexibility of remote work. This is likely to lead to a growing number of people working from home even after social distancing restrictions are lifted.
Those who continue to work for companies that have a physical office will also see a change. Many organizations are looking at ways to change the office layout to accommodate social distancing measures. There will also be a change in cleaning protocol with more frequent cleaning of computers, phones, etc.
Here are some of the most common ways that work will change following COVID.
- More video calls, fewer in-person meetings. The success of video conferencing platforms during COVID coupled with an increased competency of the average user means there may be a rise in the number of video calls and a decrease in face to face meetings. This will help protect individuals while still promoting business opportunities. That doesn't mean companies will prohibit business travel but they will likely reduce the number of trips employees take.
- Flexible hours will be honored. Employers will be more willing to adapt to a flexible work schedule rather than insist that all workers be in the office from 9 to 5. If they already have employees working from home, it makes sense they would allow other employees to work flex hours. This will also help with social distancing measures in the workplace.
- Employer monitoring will look different. With more employees working from home, organizations will have to adjust their monitoring efforts. This could include allowing managers to track your time or keystrokes on your home computer. There will need to be a balance between autonomy, privacy, security and productivity tracking.
- Co-worker connections will need to adapt. It is unlikely that co-workers will be able to drop by each other’s desk for a quick chat anymore, due to social distancing requirements. In addition, it is difficult to stay connected with co-workers when you work from home. How a company keeps employees engaged and connected will need to adapt. For example, if your company has a workplace mentoring program, you’ll have to look for different ways of connecting mentors and mentors. Mentoring software like Together gives organizations the capability to develop and build a successful mentoring program that includes remote workers.
- Empathetic managers and teammates. With a large population being forced to work from home it is likely that managers and teammates will have a better understanding of the challenges that come with remote work. This means that employees who work from home will see more empathy from others at their workplace. This may also strengthen the bonds of teammates, which will have a positive impact on workplace culture.
- Workplace benefits will be different. Some of the incentives that employers offer for candidates and employees will change. Offering to cover equipment expenses for remote employees will become more commonplace. Given that organizations save about $11,000 a year for every remote worker, it is fair that they invest some of that savings into their telecommuting employees.
- Improved diversity. The option of working from home may be a boost for women in the workplace. Research shows that women who have had to stop working because of family obligations would have liked to continue working but their employers did not have flexible options. These breaks from work can cost women thousands of dollars in earnings. Thanks to a growth in remote work options, more women will be able to participate. Moreover, workplace mentoring programs, coupled with flexible work options, will improve diversity at organizations, which, in turn, can improvs a company’s earnings.
Adapting to post-COVID life
Many governments have already begun to loosen restrictions on organizations due to COVID-19. Yet, it is unlikely that things will ever return to what they were before social distancing became a way of life. That includes how and where we work.
Many employers have now seen first-hand how employees can productively work from home. Moreover, employees have found freedom as remote workers. It is safe to assume that there will be a rise in the number of employees who opt to work from home even after COVID restrictions have ended.
This will mean that employee engagement programs, like mentoring, will need to adapt to the new remote workplace. Organizations can continue a robust mentoring program with remote employees by following some of these tips. In addition, mentoring software is ideal to help organizations manage and analyze their workplace mentoring programs.
To find out how Together mentoring software can work for your company, contact us for a free demo.