Published on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Post-Pandemic Workplace

Author: Mary E. Corrado

As we slowly return to the workplace, will it ever return to “normal?”  Not right away, if ever.

World Economic Forum outlined several trends likely to shape the post-COVID workplace.  Some of these I agree with, some I have trouble with.

1.       Less Commuting – As the back-to-work process begins, it will still require many to work remotely due to social distancing guidelines. In addition, companies are realizing the potential real estate savings and workers are enjoying the lack of a commute. However, I have also read that opportunities for advancement are limited for remote workers. Also, companies will struggle with protecting the culture they have built as more employees work remote.

2.       Email Etiquette Will Grow in Importance – Sending emails after hours is considered bad etiquette, and with the growth in remote work it’s even more so frowned upon.  Research has shown that after-hour emails create a coercive work culture where people are expected to be available 24/7.  But when working virtually, it’s important to separate work and home life.  

3.       Video Calls Will be Limited – This might come as a surprise with the rise in remote work, but research is showing that people are burned out on video calls. Video calls have been proven to be more stressful and tiring than in-person meetings.  You can’t see yourself when in an in-person meeting, but on video calls you can.  Many find this very stressful.  More and more organizations are switching back to phone calls.  In my peer groups, I have not found this to be the case. More and more companies are relying on video calls so they can “see” their employees and feel this provides for better engagement.

4.       Co-Working Spaces Will Grow in Popularity – While remote work will continue, workers have grown tired of working out of their homes, which are often very small spaces. Most likely, once lockdowns are lifted, people will again want to use cafes and other co-working spaces to change up their environment.  People also crave being around others, which will drive them to more sociable locations. However, companies that allow this will need to ensure proper guidelines are in place.  WeWork and similar co-working space providers are having financial issues right now with leased space and no users.

5.       More Digital Nomads – Could all this remote work lead to being able to work on a far-away deserted island?  Probably not, but some do say that this will eventually lead to people being able to travel the world while working remotely. 

6.       Increased Use of Instant Messaging or Chats – Instant messaging or chats are likely to become a primary form of communication with workers.  It allows for informal discussions and can be done at any time.  Chat etiquette will have to be reviewed as well as history maintenance.  A way to track the history will become important in the event of a lawsuit.

What other trends do you see occurring in a post-pandemic workplace? Email me at mcorrado@aseonline.org

Categories: Blog

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