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How the COVID-19 Pandemic could change workplaces

It’s been said repeatedly, but life will truly never be the same when the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic eventually comes to an end. That especially applies to the workplace. We’ve already spoken about some of the ways businesses and companies are adapting to quarantine and social distancing measures.

But what about when things eventually reopen completely? And what could be some wholesale changes that are implemented in the workplace as a result of the pandemic?

Canada Create decided to take a look.

Social distancing to continue

When offices open up, you can expect social distancing to continue in the workplace. That means keeping six feet away from your colleagues and boss, making sure to store and use hand sanitizer as much as possible and wearing masks.

We may even see offices that are redesigned with social distancing in mind. One such example is the Six Feet Office which has been implemented by Cushman and Wakefield in the Netherlands.

 

We could also see less open plan workspaces to promote social distancing. That means one may expect traditional sectors such as news media, advertising and others to shift to a more closed space environment. Good news for those who want their own office!

Reduction in meetings and business travel

Remember that joke of how a meeting could have been an email? That was further exemplified by the pandemic as it turned out lots of things could be resolved without having meetings.

Once things are back to normal, we can expect more meetings to become emails and more emails to become instant messages. We at Canada Create, for example, tend to use Telegram a lot more than email. Of course, not all matters can be solved via text, but that may only call for more Zoom meetings.

Speaking of Zoom, another aftereffect of the pandemic might be a drastic reduction in business travel. Why should companies shell out for a trip outside the country for what can simply be resolved with a Zoom call? It might suck for those who have a penchant for travelling, but companies will need to save as much money as possible, at least for the near future.

More work from home and reduced hours

Before the pandemic struck the world, there was already talk of reducing the 40-hour work week. Some countries such as Denmark and Norway adopted four-day work weeks and have seen effective results with reduced burnout, happier workers and increased productivity.

And given how COVID-19 made a lot of businesses quickly figure out how to work from home, that also led to reduced hours for many employees, especially as not everyone will work the full eight hours at home. Companies trusted in their employees to get the job done rather than controlling their clock in and clock out times.

While it is certainly a new development for many who are used to the office environment and may get distracted at home, it seems to be a popular one as a whole. A survey by Research Co. in mid-March found that 73 per cent of Canadians think the trend of working from home will continue after the pandemic. In addition, 65 per cent of the respondents would like to continue working from home more often once the pandemic is over. We can expect many employees to demand that right in some form.

We may even see a few companies ditch offices entirely as it would certainly cut costs and be more profitable in the long run. And while it’s hard to see every company completely shifting from a five-day week, more work from home certainly could be afforded which saves money, time and energy for all parties. And who doesn’t want to sleep for an extra hour on a weekday?

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