Welcome to the ‘new normal’
Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis in one way or another and businesses now have some serious decisions to make. With lockdown restrictions slowly easing, some of us are heading back to work after being furloughed or working from home for three long months. But what is our future going to look like?
What does the future look like?
From temperature checks outside of buildings to skeleton staff allowed in offices, COVID-19 is set to shape the future of our workplaces forever. Here’s a quickfire list of repercussions we’re expecting to see:
- A shift in career aspirations
- More people turning to freelance work
- A focus on turning side hustles into full-time jobs
- New priorities i.e. local work, less public transport commute
- Improved work/life balance
- Budget cuts
- Spending more time with family
- Remote or flexible working
- Fewer people working in offices
- Video conferencing
- Less business travel
- Increased demand for coworking office spaces
- More affordable housing
- Less pollution
- Freedom with work
- No more commuting
Hopefully from this list, you’ll spot something that would have a positive impact on you and/or your current work situation.
What are the positives?
I don’t want to get my fellow millennials too excited but an increase in remote work could eventually result in more affordable housing. Yep, fewer people working in city centres = less demand for housing in surrounding areas = house prices evening out… theoretically anyway! In a recent episode of the Reimagination At Work podcast by Watch This Sp_ce, Allegra Chapman spoke openly about how working remotely will allow her family to move out of central Brighton without having to change their jobs… a dream for many people around the UK!
Along with an increase in remote work, employee happiness and productivity should also improve. Studies have found that not only can remote work lead to ‘astonishing’ productivity levels, but it can also reduce employee stress, improve mental and physical health… and help the environment!
Of course, as some news reporters have found, remote working doesn’t work for everyone. Shared office spaces might come in handy here, your employer won’t have to rent an office, but instead, get you a membership for a shared space local to you. Or, you could perhaps find yourself using the company office on a rotation basis, reducing the number of people in at any one time.
Things employers need to think about…
Employers will have some new things to consider if they decide to move their team over to remote working. Risk assessments of employee homes might have to take place to check staff are working safely outside of the office. Some companies now offer budgets for their staff to buy desks and office chairs to use at home. This can be invaluable to an employee struggling to work from home while balancing their laptop on an ironing board!
Another big change that employers will face in this new work environment is how teams communicate. Will face-to-face meetings be erased all together and replaced by video conferencing? If you’re a manager, will you need to check in with your team more often? After going back to his office after lockdown restrictions were eased, Kevin Gibbons said he found his team ‘fixed a lot of small issues that had potentially boiled into bigger ones by simply having face-to-face time to address properly + get a wider perspective.’ They have now decided to meet at the office in person once a week while working remotely for the remaining four days. Flipping their pre-COVID policy of four days in and one day out on its head. Making changes like this might bring unexpected positive changes to your company.
With all of these changes comes a reliance on technology. Employers might not need to invest in office spaces but instead will have to ensure they have the right tech to keep their staff connected. Do you need a new telecoms system? Invest in video conferencing software? Buy laptops? Improve your company’s data security? These will all need to be considered in a world of remote work.
What does the future of job-seeking look like?
Budget cuts and redundancy are at an all-time high, you don’t have to look hard to find someone whose job has been affected by the coronavirus crisis. Whether they’ve had a pay cut, put on furlough, are covering furloughed colleagues or made redundant… everyone has been affected in some way. This has resulted in some big changes to the job market. There has never been more competition for jobs, with such few vacancies actually being hired it’s never been more important to make yourself stand out.
Throughout lockdown, our Head of Recruitment Natasha has worked tirelessly coaching people through redundancy, and prepping their CV’s for when the job market opens up again (if you’d like a free CV critique, get in touch!). For now, if you’re job seeking, your next move might not necessarily be your dream job or even a step up. Having a little flexibility to keep yourself in employment is advisable. But give the world time to find it’s feet again in a ‘new normal’, and the right job will arise.
On the flip side, you might find that employers are open to a wider variety of locations thanks to remote working, giving you more opportunity to find a job somewhere you previously couldn’t commute to.
The last few months have been horrendous, there’s no denying it. But, some of the major changes coronavirus is having on our workplaces could be positive, so let’s embrace them and bring them with us into the future. I am also happy for gyms to stay closed for a little while longer!