We've all been dealt a new deck of cards. Thousands if not millions are left wondering if their work situation will stay this way much longer.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape the corporate world, many people wonder what the future holds for the modern office. Many employees have shifted from working in person, making work from home the new normal. Moreover, predicting how organizations will be using their workplaces in the future is extremely challenging given a plethora of factors.
Will companies report back to the office after the pandemic?
Many months have elapsed since the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Covid-19 as a pandemic. Most people across the world have survived amidst curfews and lockdowns. Millions of workers have made a massive transition to remote working, while thousands of others have lost jobs entirely. With all these uncertainties, the future looks unpredictable.
Despite the upheaval, offices are expected to re-open in the coming months. This will present a new challenge for employees because they don't know what to expect from their 'new' workstations. According to CCS Insight Research Company, more than 50% of the office-based workforce will still work from home through 2022.
If this analysis is anything to go by, it's clear that workplaces will never be the same again. With over a half of the employees at home, the future office will be no longer designed to take in a huge pool of employees working from nine to five.
Of all the changes stirred by the Covid-19 pandemic, the working spaces are among the most impacted. Here are some of the future predictions regarding the subject.
Health and Safety are Top Priorities
Or at least they should be...
As offices plan to re-open, the immediate priority is employee' health and safety. While the vaccine is underway and appears effective. Many American employees would love to have health and safety precautions implemented when they report back to the office.
That can help create a sense of psychological and physical safety in the workspaces. For that matter, companies will have to modify office designs and layouts to allow for social distancing. They should also strive to maintain high standards for cleanliness and sanitation.
Companies Will Go Back to Working in Offices
Although many people think that virtual environments will dominate corporate operations, it's worth noting that the traditional office won't disappear soon. According to the Chief Executive of JLL Ireland, John Moran, the office provides a mix of three things that can't be found in virtual spaces – culture, collaboration, and colleagues.
The office will remain an integral component of the corporate culture that facilitates work and productivity. After all, not all employees will choose to work from home. Research indicates that half of the workforce will gladly want to report back to the office.
According to Andrew Hewitt, a research analyst at Forrester, there will be a 300 percent increase in employees working remotely. This accounts for one out of five employees working from home permanently.
Nevertheless, the majority of the workforce will still be reporting to the physical workplace. The fact that a good number of workers will adapt to virtual environments isn't enough reason for companies to abandon physical offices. They could as well re-think their investments to reduce the under-utilized spaces and incorporate better design ideas that can help them make the most out of the remaining space.
Technology's Role in This
Adoption of advanced technology will enhance virtual working and facilitate workers' safety and efficiency on company premises. Numerous technologies such as video calling services play a significant role in promoting remote working.
Zoom is one of the world's most used chat platforms with a high potential of transforming corporate culture. Other tech innovations like Google Hangouts and Skype are also great resources to connect with colleagues and clients in various locations.
Workers can also utilize instant communication tools like Telegram, Slack, and Quip to communicate with co-workers instantaneously. These tools simplify communication over the internet and allow workers to exchange messages privately in real-time.
On the other hand, voice assistant technology is increasingly gaining popularity due to its safety and contact-free features. This technology can be used in various ways, such as requesting services (booking a room ordering food) in the same building, elevators, and meeting rooms.
Planning for More Changes
As if all of our lives haven't already taken complete 180's this past year, we are probably in store for at least a few more adaptations to how and where we work. Efficiency is up for some individuals, but down for others. Companies small and large have thrived, while others have met their untimely demise.
Whatever the future holds for the corporate workers we really just have to be prepared for anything at this point. That's definitely easier said than done for many of us - the mothers, fathers, caregivers, even the single folks that have adapted so intensely over the course of this all. Regardless of where you stand and your current situation, the best we can do is continue to adapt.