How COVID-19 May Change the Office Culture Forever

Even if the coronavirus hasn’t touched your health or that of your loved ones, it has certainly altered your life in many other areas. For many professionals, that includes changes in the workplace. The most basic way COVID-19 has transformed the workforce is by rendering the brick and mortar office a risky landscape. Gone are the days of traffic-jammed commutes, bustling break rooms, and cramped cubicles. For the past several months (and for the foreseeable future) office workers have been relegated to working virtually from home.

This setup comes equipped with advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, you have more time to sleep, you don’t have to worry about your attire from the waist down, you can save your lunch money, and there are potentially less distractions (depending upon your living situation.)

On the negative side, boundaries between work time and personal time may feel blurred, you’re isolated from other people, and you’re operating without the benefits of an office infrastructure, which can be challenging for some.

Whatever side of the line you find yourself on, you may want to focus on the positive side because experts predict that this pandemic work situation is here to stay, even after the office place is deemed a safe place.

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6 ways experts predict office cultural post-pandemic will be different forever

1.) Increase in Flexibility

An increase in flexibility means an easier work-life balance. Perhaps the greatest perk that working from home offers is greater employee autonomy. Because of this, many professionals may seek work from home flexibility even after it’s safe to return to the office. 

In addition, many employers are responding more positively to the work from home setup than they have in the past. Employers are learning that not only are their workers productive from the comfort of their home, but in some cases are more productive. This is because the office space can be a productivity killer. Idle chit-chat, frequent breaks, and long lunch hours cost the business time, energy, and resources. Moreover, there’s a financial benefit to be had for employers who need less physical space for their teams. Imagine the savings you can accrue without rent, bills, and other various expenses.

2.) Workers will Feel More Disconnected

The fact that employees will feel more disconnected means that employers will need to get more creative. Isolation can have a devastating impact on the well-being of employees, especially if they live alone or are introverts. For some, coming into the office is one of the few chances for socialization. With the physical office disappearing, there is a growing backslide in work efficiency and productivity because of emotional strain, loneliness, mental health issues and less opportunities to grow and learn from others. Whether it’s skill development, enrichment classes, or coaching, companies have begun offering more opportunities for their employees to maintain their happiness and overall well-being.

3.) The Role of a Manager will Evolve

COVID-19 has big implications on what it means to be a manager. In some cases, remote working may illuminate the fact that some managers do the bulk of their managing by making sure their employees are actually showing up to work , rather than focusing on goals, timelines, and deliverables.

In order to help managers deal with the new normal, better and more extensive training are needed. The skills of a manager are going to be placed under a microscope, which means some may be fired or demoted and others will not receive a managerial opportunity due to a lack of relevant skills.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

4.) Meeting Culture will Shift

Long gone are the days of conference room meetings. In are the days of Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, Slack, and other communication platforms. On the upside, these virtual meetings are shorter. On the downside, they are occurring more frequently, which can be taxing physically and mentally. Furthermore, the real results of a meeting are seen once the meeting is concluded, and that cannot be measured digitally.

5.) Authenticity will Rule Supreme

Since many employees have been working from home with their kids, parents, pets, partners, and other non-work-life mainstays on display in video calls, experts predict there may be less shame in being yourself at work. This means fewer stigmas, more tolerance, and more acceptance. Having said that, there still needs to be an emphasis on how you appear on screen. Even from the comfort of your bed or couch, it is vital that you maintain a sense of professionalism.

6.) Employees will Feel an Increase in the Value of Their Work

Post-pandemic the ideal of working for a company whose values align with your own will intensify. As a result, individuals may start not only to look for companies that align with their values, but also for careers that give them a sense of purpose and fulfillment on a larger scale. Many people tie their identities to their jobs, but moving forward, we may no longer be able to tolerate any disconnect between the two.

Resources

Well + Good

Erin Bunch

Sep 10, 2020

4 thoughts on “How COVID-19 May Change the Office Culture Forever

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