How COVID-19 Changed the Future of the Workplace

A man and a woman, with facemasks, looking at a document

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, employers and employees alike have seen massive changes in their workplaces, like heightened sanitation measures, more flexible hours, and work-from-home positions. Now, many are wondering: will any of these pandemic changes become a permanent part of the workplace?

Work-from-Home is Here to Stay

At the height of the pandemic, many workplaces shifted to a work-from-home model that allowed employees to work remotely. At the time, work-from-home was meant to prevent face-to-face interaction. It also gave employees an opportunity to work while caring for others in the household, like children attending virtual school or an elderly relative. However, many employees realize that they enjoyed remote work, and that they were happier and more productive when able to perform their typical tasks from home.

As a result, some workplaces are continuing to use a work-from-home model. Others use a hybrid model, which allows employees to split their work hours between their home and a traditional office. For business owners, remote employees have plenty of pros and cons. Having remote workers helps business owners save money on office space and equipment. It also gives them the opportunity to hire from a larger talent pool, since employees don’t have to live locally. However, others business owners and managers have concerns about communication, productivity, and the impact that work-from-home has on company culture and morale.

Changing Employee Needs

Many employees dealt with incredible hardships during the pandemic, including the loss or sickness of a loved one, someone in their household losing income, or having to suddenly shift to homeschooling a child. As a result, many wanted to see more compassionate policies at their workplaces, such as policies allowing for extra time-off for sickness or bereavement, better benefits, or flexible hours. In situations where they didn’t feel valued and supported, many left their current jobs to seek better options.

For employers looking to decrease employee turnover, they may have to revisit workplace policies and think about areas they’re willing or able to change. In other cases, satisfying employee’s needs might be simpler, like showing employee appreciation more frequently. All in all, employees now want workplaces where they feel safe and supported, and where they are treated as humans.

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