HOW THE PANDEMIC HAS CHANGED OUR WORK ENVIRONMENT
Covid-19 has brought about some major changes in our lifestyles that we have now learned to accept as the norm. It has moved us to embrace uncertainty and restraint, few things which we conveniently pushed aside in our quest for fast-paced lives. We have lived through lockdowns which once would have sounded bizarre. We have gotten used to the suffocation of a mask that we once would’ve considered a discomfort impossible to live with. Like these and many other ways, the pandemic has appended changes to our lives that we never would’ve considered otherwise.
Among the many shifts induced due to this pandemic, the most subjective and revolutionary is the shift in the work culture. There are too many upsides to the changes in our work environment that we can hardly blame the pandemic for the chaos it initially caused to the corporate world. It has forced the whole world into a brand new era of remote and hybrid working. Not that remote working is an innovation of the 21st century, however, it sure became the standard.
Working remotely has had its challenges when it was first introduced to the workforce. It came as an uninvited guest but is now been welcomed as a boon. It has given people more freedom and individuality in getting their work done. It has enabled businesses to adopt new technologies which in turn made them more efficient. Also, technologies these days are as advanced as they’re easy to use; they not only helped bridge the gap between experts and novices with their easy-to-use applications but also aided in accomplishing tasks that would’ve otherwise been deemed impossible to achieve through a remote setting.
Now that businesses and most of the working sector have a taste of this new way of working, they don’t seem to want to go back to the conventional 9-5 office setup. Studies show that employees would rather quit than go back to a job that requires them to work from an office. This is only natural considering the many benefits remote working offers. After spending all their lives torn between the stress of work at an office and long commutes to home and long lost social lives, they would not want to give up the respite offered to them by this opportunity of working from home.
However, there is another side to this issue. Though the few pitfalls of this culture are heavily overshadowed by its advantages, they cannot be overlooked. For instance, as important as it is to avoid time-consuming meetings in a workplace, the office smalltalk is vital in instilling camaraderie in the workforce. Without these basic daily interactions, work becomes mundane as it is difficult to find motivation all by oneself sitting at home.
So, another aspect Covid has unintentionally shed light on is, mental health. Like many other things we wouldn’t have considered revisiting if not for the agitation caused by covid-19, mental well-being is one such aspect. The many lockdowns, social distancing norms, and remote working activities have pushed people into boundaries isolating one another. With prolonged distancing came depression. Hence, it became a necessity that employers understood the cognitive state of the employee and had managers in place who were able to guide them and nurture them even virtually.
To overcome such red flags, businesses have already come up with ideas like hybrid working – combining the best of both worlds. This removes the need for huge, permanent physical spaces and all the associated expenses while continuing the culture of office interaction.
Going forward, we will find our workplaces transformed to suit the ever-changing future. As we keep drawing opportunities from this uncertainty, we will have built a work culture immune to such pandemics or any other unforeseen events.