- The coronavirus pandemic is temporary, but changes in the way we work will be permanent.
- The days of fixed schedules and cramped headquarters are numbered, as we usher in newfound flexibility.
- Here’s how remote work is becoming the new normal, and what to expect from the future of work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed business and work as we know it. But, unlike the pandemic — which is temporary — the change in the way we work will be permanent.
With companies forced to embrace remote working and digital tools to adhere to government guidelines and encourage social distancing, the days of fixed schedules and cramped headquarters are numbered. In the span of just a few weeks, businesses have shifted to something experts thought would take years.
Remote Work: The New Normal
Once the storm passes, it’s likely that people will want to go into the office. In fact, many might be missing the office already more than they care to admit. But the office we return to won’t be the same, particularly as employees and employers alike realize the various benefits that remote working and flexible schedules offer.
It’s a simple matter, remote work will be the new normal. People will go into the office only on occasion, to meet clients or attend a meeting. The rest of the time most professionals will choose to work from home, a coffee shop, or a coworking space.
Organizations, for their part, will encourage this type of arrangement, which allows them to reduce their real estate footprint, therefore cutting costs.
Culture: The New Goal
As organizations navigate the shift towards remote work, culture is what will dictate success. Businesses that are able to nurture and strengthen their company culture during this time will come out of the crisis more resilient; therefore better prepared to face the challenges and disruptions that lie ahead.
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More importantly, culture is what will help companies attract and retain talent now and in the future. How businesses treat employees during the pandemic will not be forgotten by workers; organizations that take a people-first approach are more likely to succeed now and in the future, as they realize that their most important asset is people and the work they do — at home or in the office.
Technology: The New Connector
As more people confine themselves to their homes, technology has become the glue that holds us together. This holds true both for work and life.
The pandemic has accelerated the pace at which companies embrace digital collaboration tools like Zoom, Slack, Asana, Skype for Business, Trello, Teams, and many more. In the future, technology is what will bring teams together, both online and offline, as the nature of work continues to shift and be disrupted.
Leadership: The New Management
Change management will become a new priority for businesses. Rather than managers, employees need strong leaders that are able to guide them as they adapt to new work practices, new technologies, and new policies.
A manager’s role is likely to shift to one of leader, mentor, and coach. Currently, organizations are already seeing this as managers check up on workers to see how they’re coping with the pandemic and working from home, as they teach employees how to use digital tools, and as they set an example of how to communicate virtually.
Learnability: The New Benchmark
As employees are driven to a new world of work, learnability will become the new benchmark by which their success is measured. The faster they are able to learn a new skill or the faster they learn to use a new product or tool, the better.
Those who have mastered the use of digital tools are already one step ahead than those who are struggling with online meetings, virtual communication, and other online collaboration tools.
As companies continue to navigate uncharted waters with the pandemic, they will mark the path for the future of work.