Since 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted labor markets worldwide. Millions of people lost their jobs or became furloughed. Companies not on the front lines got forced to rapidly transition their operations and employees to remote settings as offices closed. Remote working took a center and front seat in workplace discussions. Besides, company leaders directed their efforts towards digitizing the relationships between them and their employees.
These changes have left companies at crossroads. Those that will capitalize on post-pandemic opportunities will be in an excellent position to retain their employees and attract new talents when the situation stabilizes. In contrast, those that will fail to embrace change will remain behind, making their employees vulnerable to increased risks of financial struggles, facing dismissals and closures.
This article analyzes the post-pandemic working trends.
Employees might continue working remotely in a post-coronavirus vaccine world. Most professionals forecast a majority remote future workforce where workers will have the ability to work from any geographical location. Modern technology and a shift in cultural expectations will support this change post-COVID-19. However, the ability to work remotely remains concentrated among highly educated and skilled workers in specific occupations, industries, and geographies. Although some will work remotely, other workers will not have this option – or do it even if they can.
Although remote working has reduced real estate costs for companies, increased employee productivity, and enabled organizations to hire the best talent available, other aspects making working from home tricky will persist. Organizations will experience difficulty maintaining organizational culture in a digital environment, workers will feel segregated, and data security issues will increase. New challenges will also emerge regarding equity and opportunities for workers who work from home and have less face time with their employers.
Hybrid Office Model
The hybrid office model will remain post-pandemic. Unlike a traditional office, the hybrid office will be a space where workers meet several times a week to collaborate and interact with their colleagues. Workers will not have dedicated working spaces. Instead, they will work from shared spaces or hotdesking. Employees will complete individual work that does not need collaboration remotely. As McKinsey Global Institute asserts, about 20 to 25% of employees in developed economies can work remotely two to five days a week without losing productivity.
Nevertheless, the hybrid office model will need different communication and management approaches than the model of all employees working remotely at the same time. Business leaders will need to set clear, written expectations on where the workers can work from and when. Setting expectations will help ensure consistency and equity across all levels without discrimination. An example of this is this coworking space in Melbourne.
Rapid Digitization, Automation, and Reskilling
Many jobs in the industrial, manufacturing, technology, and energy industries cannot be executed remotely because they require specialized machines, front-line work, or other requirements that people cannot complete off-site. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace for digitization and automation for several such jobs, which will significantly impact employment in the coming years. In response to the pandemic, many employers and managers leveraged digital solutions, including control towers and nerve centers, to improve end-to-end supply chain transparency.
Additionally, the need to control costs and maintain social distance and constantly evolving technology have accelerated digitization and automation. As a result, many employees will have to develop new skills to fit in the job market, and organizations need to consider reskilling these workers. Interpersonal, technology, and leadership skills will be significant focus areas post-pandemic.
Expanded Data Collection
During the pandemic, many employers use technologies regularly to monitor their workers through various methods, including tracking job computer usage, virtual clocking, and monitoring worker emails and internal communications. While some organizations track employee productivity, others observe employee well-being and engagement to understand worker experience better.
Before the outbreak of the pandemic, companies increasingly used non-conventional employee monitoring tools. However, the new monitoring of remote employees and staff health and safety data collection will hasten this trend.
Contingent Employee Expansion
The economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic has made many employees lose their jobs and exposed others to nonstandard work models. Most organizations responded to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact by lowering their labor budgets. As a result, many firms will continue to extend the use of contingent employees to cut costs and enhance flexibility in workforce management post-pandemic. They will also consider introducing new job models they have observed during the pandemic, such as 70% pay for 70% work and talent sharing.
Rise of Top-tier Employees
Before COVID-19, companies experienced increased workforce demands for transparency. Staff and prospective employees will judge corporations based on how they treated their workers during the pandemic. Thus, organizations should balance the decisions they will make today to settle immediate issues during the pandemic with a long-lasting impact on the employment brand.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, companies have faced a burst of acceleration, getting into their future of work in ways that tested their ability to blend technology and people in a dynamic business environment never seen before. Although moments of crisis can result in heroic and unprecedented actions, the sustainability of these actions will become the true path towards economic recovery.