The pandemic caused industries worldwide to shut down a bulk of their operations and shift employees from traditional working environments to remote or work from home set-ups. This swift transition was not something that anyone had fully prepared for, whether the company is focused on services or products.
Today, we are more prepared to handle the pandemic with vaccine roll-out and the strict enforcement of effective safety protocols and procedures. That leads us to the question, should the workplace situation revert to its original set-up?
Let us run through important aspects of the workplace and how the pandemic has affected it for better or for worse.
When it comes to working, the location and environment are almost just as important as the work itself. It would be difficult to be productive in work situations that cause high-stress levels or give frequent distractions.
What exactly are the fundamentals of a workplace that management and business owners need to work on to maintain a specific standard of productivity? With regard to the pandemic, is it all about an agile workplace? Is it about redesigning the physical space?
When it comes to creating the best workplace, the following must be considered:
Workplace Flexibility - Giving employees the freedom to choose where, when, and how to accomplish their tasks and responsibilities.
Workplace Experience - The totality of experiences, actions, and reactions employees go through from opening time to closing time.
Workplace Sustainability - Creating a balance between economic, environmental, and societal aspects.
Agile Workplace - Maximizing the potential of new and refreshed systems of work.
Workplace Readiness - Ensuring that employees possess or are equipped with the necessary skills and attitude before entering the workforce.
Ideal Workplace - Subjective measure on how employees would like the working environment to be.
Workplace Transformation - Allows opportunities to create and innovate within the workplace paradigm to benefit employees and the company.
Workplace Safety - Ensuring a safe environment physically and mentally, away from diseases, discrimination, and other harmful entities.
Workplace Trends - Being privy to tactics and strategies that are changing the industry and improving how work can be done efficiently and effectively.
Despite the reduction in the number of active cases and the implementation of vaccination programs across the world, companies are still closer to the post-pandemic workplace than they are to the original, traditional working set-up. However, most companies can now see that the traditional office spaces are now a viable option, as long as the right safety protocols are in place.
With the introduction of the new system of working and a slight return to the traditional ways, here are a few ways the post-COVID workplace has changed and yet remained slightly the same:
Companies have now resorted to maximizing office time and remote work by utilizing the hybrid set-up. In this set-up, employees are given a certain number of days to work from the comfort of their homes but are also required to report for duty at the office to do tasks and activities that normally require physical presence.
Companies have mostly gotten rid of the cubicles and dividers office layout to allow for a more roomy and open working environment. As a result of fewer people going to offices, spaces have been maximized to offer room for social distancing and other needed safety protocols such as an area to sanitize and terminals for measuring temperature and other vitals.
Data gathering is now as important as ever. Data is used to measure feedback on employee workload, morale and happiness, stress, and even to find better ways to complete work. Travel plans, health-related history, and other non-work aspects are also being gathered to establish protocols and plan ahead of time.
Simply put, working from home is just different from engaging in work alongside friends and colleagues. Meetings now require a different level of patience and skills, and output can even be doubled or tripled, depending on the nature of work. Reports have increased, but autonomy has also been a good factor for most. With all of these changes, employees have grown to either like or dislike their current working situations.
In any operation, having good chemistry and high levels of collaboration is of utmost importance. This can be manifested from workplace culture, which is defined as the character and personality of the environment employees conduct work in. This environment and its characteristics will be a significant factor in shaping how employees behave, think, and feel. If you want employees with relatively low-stress levels and higher morale, then workplace culture should be in line with those traits.
What are your thoughts on the current workplace situation? Are there any particular advantages or disadvantages that stand out?
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