The coronavirus has undoubtedly changed the way we live, but its impact on how we work will echo for years to come. Although some office workers will make their reentrance into the workplace over the next few weeks as restrictions are lifted, the workforce as whole will be changed for good.
In-person meetings may become less common as most companies have the infrastructure to update workers through email or instant messaging tools.
“People have been more patient in learning new technologies and engaging with them, simply because they’ve had to,” said Nadjia Yousif, managing director and partner of Boston Consulting’s London office.
Traditional office buildings may also be seen more as status symbols that are reserved for executives that afford the real estate. This could also lead to these offices being used more as conference centers for company gatherings, with focused work continuing to be done remotely.
Additionally, shared offices that feature open floor plans will undergo some changes, with desks more spaced out, cleaning products being more readily available and partitions being implemented. Touchless technology, such as door sensors and automatic sinks, will also become essential to keep workers safe.
Workers can also expect to be required to wear face masks when in an office as many governments have already encouraged people to do so when in public.
Additionally, as home and work responsibilities become more muddled, employers will likely become more flexible about work schedules.
“For most office-type work, you can absolutely do your work remotely, and with technology, you can build it around your schedule,” said Julie Kratz, a career coach.