Returning to a changed workplace post COVID-19
Published: Monday, August 31st, 2020
World crises have happened before; the Spanish flu in 1919, the global oil shock in 1973, 9/11, SARS, Ebola and the GFC. Each event has made us reconsider how we do things, in both work and home life. For example, airport security evolved dramatically in the wake of 9/11 - remember when bottled water was not a prohibited item and there were no X-ray machines in airports? It may seem hard to envisage at the minute, but COVID-19 will pass and we will return to a new normality. The question is, what will the new normality look like? While we may not continue donning masks or even maintaining social distancing, we will almost certainly return to a changed workplace post COVID-19 – very different to the one we knew before.
Atlassian has joined other tech companies like Twitter in announcing remote working as a permanent option for all staff. While COVID-19 has accelerated flexible working conditions, it has been a long time coming. It has fostered a fundamental shift in the need to digitally transform our workforce and squash the perception that employees will be less productive working from home. In fact, 2/3 of workers say that they’re more productive and less stressed WFH.
While not everyone will want to continuously work from home, some will at least want the option. Admittedly, the extra few minutes of sleep in the morning have been a treat when working remotely. Yet some people actually miss their commute and an element of routine. Inevitably though, WFH is here to stay and will soon become a staple for every job description.
Fashioning corporate to casual
While we don’t deem sweats and slippers as appropriate work attire, the trend to casual dress policy is likely to overtake suits and heels. If we have been able to work efficiently and even more productively in a hoody while at home, should a tie make the difference when we return to the office?
Video paving the way for virtual spaces
Zoom, Google Hangouts and Teams have revolutionised the way we communicate and conduct meetings. They have enabled us to unite digitally while distance socially. While we’re still getting used to muting ourselves, kids playing in the background and screens freezing, video conferencing has made the transition to remote work incredibly easy.
While 2020 has seen huge job losses, there have been those fortunate to be offered new roles. The hardest part of starting a new position is taking in company information and values – which usually happens in your first few weeks. This is picked up from casual conversations at the coffee machine or simply walking over to someone’s desk. When starting WFH, you miss out on these in-person interactions.
To ensure an effective onboarding process having company policies, knowledge, and information easily accessible at the click of a button makes for a more seamless starting experience.
Knowledge is key, and sharing it is critical
Taking note of all the transformations COVID-19 has brought about, there is one common denominator - the need for coherent communication and sharing. Ensuring staff have the appropriate technology and resources to access data, collaborate and share knowledge is key to a successful remote working solution.
Businesses are in the fortunate position of being able to foresee the future flexibility of work life through the current crisis and should be preparing to digitally transform their workforce in preparation for a post COVID-19 world and everything it brings with it.