In the context of this pandemic, it is undeniable that the world of work will not be the same, and everything indicates that some changes are here to stay.
This interesting work by Randstad presents: Social distancing protocols and guidelines, remote work, less mobility regarding traveling, meetings and events, impact on reputation and employer brand, and greater incidence of freelance work and goal-oriented work will be some of the main issues emerging in the world of work after Covid-19.
In a context where mandatory and preventive isolation is extended and several companies cannot operate or have to implement drastic changes regarding their operating guidelines, with many employees confined in their homes, having to combine their professional and personal lives in the same space, while many others carry out extremely demanding services in essential activities, it is undeniable that the world of work will not be the same and everything indicates that some changes are here to stay.
“In only a couple of days we changed our way of working, we left our offices and we had to adapt to new ways of carrying out our tasks.” From one day to the next, we built the greatest home-office experiment in the world, one unimaginable even for the greatest visionary, and there is no way back from that: many things will not go back to how they used to be in the world of work when the quarantine finishes and we return to a certain, new normal.
These are the main tendencies that, according to experts, will lay the foundations of a new global work scenario after the pandemic:
- Distancing guidelines in offices, factories and workplaces
Even when the quarantine is over and we resume the production activity, we will have to continue to cope with physical distancing protocols that will affect significantly our way of interacting in the different work environments. Companies will have to make an effort in order to create safe work environments for their employees, adapting their facilities and work processes and standards to the new distancing parameters.
Hence, dividers, safety zones and circulation control, sanitising stations, personal protection kits and strict occupancy protocols in common areas will be the protagonists of the new normal at work.
- Home office and remote work
The context of preventive isolation forced many organisations to create the necessary conditions for their employees to do home office, even when the predominant culture was oriented towards face to face work and the monitoring of and compliance with working hours. The positive aspect of this forced situation is that it contributed to overcoming cultural barriers, prejudices and myths related to remote working and productivity, self-management and employee commitment.
It is highly likely that after going through this experience, many companies will prefer not to go back to having all their employees in front of their desks in the same offices. There will even be many employees who have had a positive experience during the pandemic and who will not want to return to that either.
- Travelling, trips, events and meetings
The pandemic paralysed the world of travelling and tourism and this industry is expected to be one of the last to recover. Considering this situation from the corporate world, there will be a direct impact on the organisation of conventions, conferences, training courses and other events that will cease to be face to face an will be held virtually from now on.
The same will be true for the typical format of daily meetings within organisations, as these will be replaced by video conferences in order to maintain the physical distancing that will be the norm from now on.
On the other hand, companies will need creativity and flexibility to adapt work time schedules so as to avoid employees’ use of public transport during rush hours. Moreover, it will be necessary to implement alternative days for attendance and other strategies to comply with safe distancing protocols between people in different workspaces.
- Consolidation of goal-oriented work
The massive implementation of remote work due to these sanitary circumstances has made many companies realise that they do not need to rely on the control of work hours to ensure workforce productivity, and, as a result, goal-oriented work has gained ground.
Many organisations with a management culture that did not believe in flexible work modes, prioritising “being” over “doing”, have been able to live an empirical experience and to realise that working face to face does not guarantee good results. Relying on remote work and sustained productivity during the isolation due to the pandemic has shown that controlling work hours is becoming obsolete and goal-oriented work is gaining ground.
- Reputation and employer brand are put to the test
Companies worldwide are facing a highly uncertain context and endless challenges simultaneously, so talking about employer branding may sound superfluous or may be a discussion for another time; however, it is the other way around: this is exactly the right time for organisations to respect, protect and even improve their reputation because their actions in these uncertain times will not be judged by results but by the way they have treated people.
For a company, remaining loyal to its identity and values must be the guiding principle, especially when facing the difficult task of laying off employees. Today is the time to put empathy, social awareness and value driven management first. They must guide companies through this crisis with transparency and sensitivity, by means of an open, honest and human communication with employees.
- Freelance work and other modes of flexible work are gaining ground
As a result of a lower dependence on face to face work, an increase in remote working and the consolidation of goal-oriented management, the world of work after Covid-19 will offer greater opportunities for more flexible work modes and experiences, as well as for the inclusion of freelancers in the talent pool of organisations.
With technology as the enabler, we will witness a new growth of the “Gig Economy”, name given to the new economy of mobile, remote, independent and on-demand work. In this respect, since specialisation and knowledge do not recognise recruitment modalities, freelance talent acquisition (for a project or part-time) will grow in a context in which organisations, more than ever, will have to be competitive to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.