08 May 9 Ways We Think COVID-19 Will Permanently Affect the Workplace
The Coronavirus has upended just about everything. We all want to see our lives get back to normal, but what will that mean? The future is murky, and we all agree there will be some permanent changes to the world. These are bound to alter our working environment. Here are 9 predictions on how COVID-19 will permanently impact the workplace:
The Time-to-Hire Will Decrease
As HR pros, recruiters, and hiring managers hustle to fill jobs in healthcare, retail, and transportation, the virus is demanding they fast-track these people into their positions. This full-steam-ahead approach is likely to remain after the pandemic. Why? This event is showing HR the fluff, extraneous, and unnecessary steps that were in their hiring process. You can expect them to be stamped out in the future.
More Full-Time Remote Workers
“Necessity is the mother of invention” is an old saying that rings true with a large number of Americans who are now working from home offices. Companies have been forced to pivot and shift on come-to-the-office policies, set up remote work technology, and establish a new level of trust with their employees. This will most likely be something that sticks with many companies after the Coronavirus threat is minimized.
Touch-Free Initiatives Will Remain
A few weeks ago, it would have been considered bad manners to not offer a friendly handshake as a greeting. Not so now, or probably ever. The Coronavirus has screeched touching to a halt, and it will most likely stay that way in the workplace. Employees across all industries will need to accept this as the new norm. This change will be the most difficult for Boomers.
Company Culture Will Experience Challenges
Company cultures that have thrived will be dealt a blow to their rich culture. Work from home employees contribute to the culture differently than on-site employees, and building rapport is more difficult. Management will be forced to be creative in weaving relationships together, and culture will evolve as a result. Over time, this may not be a bad thing, it will just be different and take a different type of effort.
Giving Back Will Increase
Uncertainty can shake us to our core and show us why we, as humans, must be thankful. Once companies rebound, many leaders will remember these feelings of doubt, worry, and need. Companies that were already good corporate citizens will most likely amp up their efforts to create a better community for themselves, their customers, and their employees. Organizations that weren’t previously “into” philanthropy will look closer at how their efforts could positively impact those in need. While COVID-19 is currently destructive, this prediction is one of the positive effects it will leave in its wake.
Stringent Data Security Protocols Will Emerge
Emergencies like the Coronavirus pandemic unveil company weaknesses regarding security. Yes, most companies have policies in place, but many will find it wasn’t enough. Fraudsters are already busy planning to take advantage of this situation, and some will succeed. Leaders will learn from this and invest money and training into shoring up their weak spots and protecting their information better than ever.
Proactive Plans Will be Created
Numerous businesses, small ones especially, were, unfortunately, caught unprepared for the pandemic. While nobody could have predicted this happening, the future will bring in more planning for disaster. A cash “cushion” for a few weeks’ expenses and payroll, written protocols, plans for scaling down in an emergency, and work at home set-ups will be components that organizations will add to their day-to-day operations. Some may even be more creative and have a contingency business ready to go in place. For example, a gym may transform into an overflow area to the local hospital.
“Essential Worker” Pay Will Change
This will be one of the biggest changes from the pandemic. The world watched while the employees who were “essential” kept the country from collapse, and people won’t soon forget it. Over the next few years, it’s likely there will be a complete overhaul in the way these workers are paid. Increases in the minimum wage, additional benefits, and newfound respect that can’t be measured by money will flourish.
Cross-Training Will Increase
Keeping the doors open with fewer workers has always been attractive, and it’s going to be even more appealing once we get back to “normal” times. Cross-training employees will enable them to handle more than one aspect of the business. This is another positive business outcome from the coronavirus. During an emergency, workers will be ready to perform the most needed tasks with little or no learning time, allowing companies to maintain their productivity and effectiveness, even with a skeleton crew.
The throws of this pandemic are unsettling and worrisome, but we will come out of it with new knowledge and insight about our country, our business, and our employees. These 9 predictions of how the future may look are generally positive results of an enormously negative few months. HR pros and business leaders can start now in planning for a bright, if different, future for themselves and their organizations.