We’ve reached the moment where we can more accurately describe our new era as the post-pandemic world. Between pre-pandemic and post-pandemic, the office setting has changed completely. For a long while, offices sat empty while employees worked from home, protecting themselves from the spread of COVID-19. Now, there are lots of employees – and employers – that don’t want things to go back to the way they were, having seen an increase in productivity and employee satisfaction from changes made over the past year.
How are offices evolving? Where will the future of the “office” setting emerge now that that end of the pandemic has become real and close enough to touch (while still sanitizing first, of course)? We’ve done our research and based on what some of the experts say, here’s what we think:
There will be a better work/home balance for employees.
What do employees want and need in order to provide their best, most productive work? We’ve seen what was lacking in the pre-pandemic world and were forced to take action. Now, we can acknowledge that not everyone works best in a 9-5 work setting. We can agree that some team members just prefer to send emails at 2 in the morning.
“There are morning people, there are night owls,” says Brian Kropp, head of research for Gartner HR, in an article by ABC News discussing how the workplace has been forever changed because of COVID-19, “Let people work when it makes the most sense for them, and you’re actually rewarded as an employer by having a more productive workforce, and those employees are happier as well.”
More offices will utilize the technology they depended on while employees worked from home.
We admit the minor mishaps such as telling a teammate to unmute themselves on a Zoom call could get annoying, but there were many technological benefits that presented themselves during our time on lockdown. It’s hard to now see our work being done without many of these tools.
Team collaboration applications such as Slack, communication through instant messaging and video conferencing, and efficiently using Cloud management through partners such as Varsity have all now become common in workplaces. These can help businesses to work together in real-time and securely store data away from malicious cyber attackers. Many of these offices, stuck in a traditional setting, may have never thought they would need these digital tools before the pandemic occurred.
More employees will work remotely either full-time or hybrid, and more roles will be added that are specified as remote.
Although the pandemic made it necessary, many companies are choosing to go the remote workplace route so they can tap into a larger pool of talent. Employees no longer need to upend their lives to relocate to head offices when much or all of their work can be done virtually.
It’s not only managers who are no longer afraid of what would happen if some team members were to work from home because they’ve seen how much more productive it can be. There’s now more of a demand for this flexibility from employees themselves who have had a taste of what it could be like. The cat is out of the bag and employees want the choice to work where it works best for them.
The traditional office leadership setting of teaching an employee to work away from home has been turned upside down. Now, teams were taught how to work from home – and as more time passed, we adapted even more and a new normal of a virtual workplace emerged. This post-pandemic workplace can now accommodate full-time virtual employees, in-office employees, or a hybrid of both – and leaders have to now evolve to manage the complete triad.
Employees will become even closer and able to collaborate better.
While working from home, teams had to find new and more effective ways to maintain communication and connections while working apart. Gone was the ability to book a boardroom to collaborate, and in its place were phone calls Zoom meetings.
It is probable for in-person communication methods to be favored after being online for so long.. Team members, once back in the office, are more likely to ditch instant messaging and casual emails for face-to-face meetings and interactions – something they did without for over a year.
“For a long time, we’ve probably taken for granted the ability to see our coworkers every day and maybe didn’t realize how valuable that was,” says Lakshmi Rengarajan, a workplace connection consultant formerly of WeWork and Match.com, in an article on CNBC, “I think teams will be a lot closer when they’re able to move back into the workplace.”
Meetings could be done via messaging/video instead of requiring expensive travel.
Why book a long conference meeting, when an email would be better? Why send employees on business trips when clients can meet by conference call and save money that can be budgeted elsewhere? While the world stood still, we found innovative ways to keep business moving which could possibly reroute the way we’ve been communicating with clients and partners pre-pandemic into something more efficient.
Whatever the future holds for the workplace, we know that we’ve entered a new normal and there’s no going back. The world may have changed directions in the face of the trauma of the pandemic and we’ve entered a new era, including that of the office. How do you see COVID-19 affecting the way we work? Let us know in the comments or reach out with a conversation with a member of the Varsity team to see how we can provide the right cloud services to match your office needs.