How The COVID-19 Outbreak Changes Work Places, Attitudes, and Methods

Companies will be more willing to offer flexible work options. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

COVID-19 has forced businesses to make changes in the way they operate, including how employees work, how the workers are managed, how targets are met, and so on. These changes are likely to have a lasting effect.

Office layouts

The idea that people should stay 6 feet away from others to minimize the chances of being infected is something that was popularized during the current CCP virus outbreak. Some experts think that this will leave a deep impact on office architecture. The current office model is about placing people in cubicles, with only a minimal space being given to each cubicle.

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Arjun Kaicker, who led the workplace team at Foster and Partners for a decade, believes countries might pass legislation that mandates a minimum working area per person in an office, as well as require larger lobbies to avoid overcrowding. Even furnishings may well change. “Office desks have shrunk over the years, from 1.8m to 1.6m to now 1.4m and less, but I think we’ll see a reversal of that, as people won’t want to sit so close together,” he said to The Guardian.

More space might be given between cubicles. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Online meetings

Managers and supervisors are apparently conducting more meetings online to check up on their home-based employees, as well as keep track of their work progress. This will likely translate into more real-world meetings when offices start opening after the lockdowns. Some companies might also decide to install webcams so that instant online meetings can be set up without much discomfort.

All major offices already have dedicated chat systems in place. As meetings and discussions shift online from conference rooms, companies can save space, cut down costs, and avoid wasting time.

Flexible work options

Since companies have now experienced working with employees online, they will be more comfortable with giving flexible work options to their workers. Earlier, many business owners were apprehensive about allowing employees to work from home since they were worried that productivity might decline. But with businesses realizing that people might even work better from the comfort of their homes, remote working is poised to boom in the next decade.

This is good news for employees since they can avoid wasting time traveling to and from work. People usually take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more commuting to their office. By eliminating travel, employees can utilize the saved time for personal purposes or even taking on additional work. For a business, a home-based worker is economical since it can cut down on rent, electricity, the Internet, and other costs.  

Employees may be able able to set their own working times. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Target-based work

Work schedules might also turn out to be flexible for employees. At present, people are expected to be at the office between fixed times, during which they have to finish a certain amount of work. And then, they can go back to their homes. This system will become obsolete once remote work becomes normal. In such a situation, the company will only set targets and the employee will be able to set a daily schedule according to his convenience as long as the targets are met.

For instance, imagine a regular office that employs a political analyst. He will likely be working between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., during which the person may have to turn out 1 or 2 analyses on specific topics. Now, if the same person works from home, they might have the full day, say 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to finish work. As such, an employee might decide to work between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., take a break during which they spend some time with neighbors or visit the gym or pick up kids, and then finish up their remaining work between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. 

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