The ‘new normal’ is something that has been talked about a lot recently, during the countries lockdown people have wondered what things will be like after lockdown, things won’t go back to how they were before COVID-19, if they ever go back to normal at all.
Whilst lockdown has been in effect, it’s become increasingly obvious that some parts of life and business will be changed forever because of flaws exposed by COVID-19 such as handling cash or working in an open office, or that alternatives to the standard can be successful like work from home schemes. As such, this article will be looking at what the new normal in business will be in a post-COVID-19 world.
Work from home is here to stay
When the country entered lockdown, workers across the country left their offices with all their work gear and set up impromptu offices in their homes, whilst work from home has been a trend that was gaining traction in the business world before lockdown, the pandemic has forced the hands of many business to put it in place.
Whilst many expected that work from home would make work life harder, the existence of modern tech like Zoom has made the transition incredibly easy for many and those working from home are staying as productive as ever, this should lead business to question how important working in an office is if workers can be equally as productive at home.
Reducing customer/employee contact
One of the first major changes by shops remaining open during lockdown was to reduce contact between the customer and employees with plastic screens and roller screens from DotcomBlinds, this massively reduce contact and thus reduced the possibility of spread of infection. This separation may stay in place going forwards, after all having an employee come into contact with 100s of people a day simply isn’t advisable and can spread illness in the workforce.
Another big change which is likely here to stay is businesses going cashless, cash money is a haven for germs and other nasty things and handling cash can increase the likelihood of infection and with the technology available in contactless payments handling cash should be a thing of the past.
Say goodbye to face to face meetings
Meetings have been part of business for as long as we can remember, but having multiple people in close quarters in a small room has been exposed as an unneeded risk in the workplace. Especially when considering that the tools exist to have meetings over the internet and still be effective.
Furthermore, having virtual meetings remove the element of travelling to meetings, it’s not uncommon for firms to send out an employee hours away for meetings, resulting in employees that spend 5 hours out of the office just for a 60 minute meeting, so not only does having virtual meetings make sense to stop the spread of illness, it also makes business sense to not have employees waste hours travelling to and from meetings.
Open plan offices finally die out
It’s a known fact by now, that despite open plan offices initially being designed to foster a more productive and collaborative atmosphere, modern open plan offices are hated by employees and actually makes employees less productive. Despite the clear dislike of open plan offices, companies have still kept making new open plan offices.
This is where the effects of COVID-19 come into play, as well as being an unproductive environment, open plan offices are essentially heaven for any contagious illness, as there is no separation between employees, if one person in the office catches a cold, it’ll make it’s way through the office, this spreadability factor was exposed during the outbreak of COVID-19 and with no doubt it’s clear that open plan offices are just not optimal environments. Businesses need to adapt to this new normal by having private offices or even cubicles.