It is safe to say that nothing will be quite the same after all that 2020 has thrown at us. The pandemic has completely changed numerous aspects of life, including in the workplace, in ways that will last long after this crisis is over. In this article we look at a few of these changes and how they apply to the way we work, providing an analysis of the present situation and how it will impact the future.
Before the pandemic, flexible working arrangements were merely a dream for many and a nice perk for a select few. The pandemic has changed all that, of course, with working from home becoming the norm and flexible hours far more common. This has been essential in order for businesses to cope during these troubling times and while many will have been unsure about the practice, businesses are now seeing the benefits.
With tools and technology allowing staff to stay connected and productive, employers will see that their business can operate in much the same way as before but without the expense of a large office space. Additionally, now that employees have had a taste for remote working and hours that can bend to suit their requirements, they will likely not want to return to the office 9-5 – a recent study has put this figure at 90%. It’s certainly safe to say that this new mode of operation will be here to say.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have taken a toll on all of us, particularly when it comes to mental health. Not being able to see family and friends, having to be shut indoors for long periods, having anxiety about keeping a job and paying the bills; people have been struggling. As a result, an increased focus on the mental health of employees will be one of the big changes that emerge from 2020.
Before, mental health was often an afterthought, something to avoid or only address if it is brought up. The companies that will thrive and continue to attract/retain the best talent in the months and years ahead will be more proactive in the post-COVID world. Having excellent wellness programmes in place, enabling a fair work-life balance, offering attractive employee benefits, and establishing HR departments that have a caring interest in staff will all be key.
There will surely come a time when the face masks go away but let’s face it, the emphasis on hygiene that has come from the pandemic isn’t going anywhere. No one wants anything like this to happen ever again so businesses and workers will be doing everything they can to make sure that things are as safe as possible. Those now returning to offices and places of work are getting used to hand-sanitiser stations, social distancing measures, and regular deep cleans of the workspace.
Personal safety as a key concern is here to stay and for any business that wants a happy, productive and content workforce will be doing everything in their power to demonstrate to workers that they are going the extra mile. No one wants to be working for a company that doesn’t seem to have their wellbeing in mind so employees will quickly look elsewhere to find a business that does. Merely following the government hygiene rules won’t be seen as enough, workers in 2021 will demand more now that the world has seen first-hand how fragile life as we know it really is.
Learning from 2020 and the future of the workplace
We are all hoping that 2021 will see better times and that businesses around the world will find the stability they need to not only survive but thrive. As indicated above, things won’t be the same, but by learning from the past and understanding what will be required in the future, businesses can look forward to brighter days.
Here at Phase 3, we want to do all we can as HR systems consultants to help you and your business thrive in 2021. So please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of our services.
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