Back to work location in the new normal. Handling the COVID-19 pandemic and its after-effects is one of the biggest challenges any company must be facing right now. Balancing operational cost while minimizing the risk to employees, most companies have used alternative ways of working; working from homes by leaving their offices, factories, stores empty by causing an economic crisis.
Before the pandemic, ‘the office’ was often considered as a channel that linked the business organization with its customers. A space for productivity, culture, collaboration, growth and talent acquisition. Companies competed among each other for office space in major cosmopolitan areas, where an incredible office was deemed essential for success.
On reopening (Back to work location), the management teams of factories, offices and companies will face the challenge of keeping their employees safe. They will need to regularly deep clean and sanitize their space. They will also need to change the sitting arrangements, such as moving work desks farther apart or changing employee schedules to reduce the number of people working on the premises at any given time.
However, the employees have always demanded flexibility in work from the company (back to work location). Now, after spending a year and a half within work-from-home setups, people have become used to working remotely. So, will it be easy for employees to return to work in the new normal?
Let’s take a look at what we’ve (employers and employees) learned from these hard times and explore what the new normal will look like and the hardships we will face as employees return to work from their workplaces / back to work.
Learnings from the work-from-home phase for both
During the pandemic, employees and managers learnt about the new and emerging technologies for video conferencing and other digital platforms for communication. Their efficiency increased because of the flexibility they got while working from home but productivity was affected due to the home environment. But, they were able to think creatively which provided better results. Employees will now have to carry the same spirit back into their offices.
The ability to acquire a new skillset and the speed of work application was becoming an important factor in companies. With the change due to the pandemic, the service life of many technical skills is rapidly shortening, and companies are obligated to learn fast. With the widespread increase in the use of video conferencing tools, employers and employees have adapted to the change and have become more resilient to any situation in the future.
Many people enjoy working from home because of the work-life balance they got due to the pandemic since they saved a lot of time from long commutes and endless hours of travel in their jobs.
Due to the pandemic, organizations were able to approach new pools of talent without locational constraints. They can implement new processes to boost productivity, increase motivation and create a stronger culture among the employees now.
The truth about returning to the office for employers (Back to work location)
While working from home, we came to know how inefficiently office spaces were being used. Companies were able to save a huge amount of money spend on internet services, electricity, coffee machines and other provisions. Though some companies compensated their employees for the same, many did not, and they will have to go back to incurring the costs for the same.
Challenges in the new workspace for employees
The difficulties faced during COVID-19 will never be forgotten by entrepreneurs, shareholders, employees and other small businesses. The struggle to maintain business continuity has been an experience in what to expect and how to prepare for future disasters.
Returning to the office (back to work), even with a small number of employees, won’t remain as it was before the pandemic. The working hours for many employees, and new rules inside the workplace regarding social distancing will be new at the beginning.
Will troubleshooting additions be required?
With the rapid increase in the use of complex technology during the crisis, IT teams have become the backbone of many organizations. With some workers working from home and some working from the office, employers will need a strong support team in place.
Assuring safety of the employees in the workplace
Hygiene and safety will be the utmost important thing to be followed by organizations. Employees will need to wear masks or face shields all the time. Workspaces will need to be redesigned to ensure physical distance and restricted movement.
There must be clear instruction given to the employees by the employers while redefining the new normal (Back to work). There should be proper flexibility concerning different working schedules, primary health care, commuting, and contact.
The rising trend of the digital workforce doesn’t mean that physical office spaces will become inessential or obsolete, but it will no longer be that important or the only place to be productive.