The economic impact of COVID19 is unprecedented and is affecting large organizations and small businesses alike. There is no clear-cut end date for the quarantine and shutdowns to stop, but there is one thing that analysts are predicting — the pandemic is going to have a lasting effect on the way companies operate.
There have been thousands of “future of work” analysts that have spent decades discussing the concepts that companies have just started implementing because of COVID.
We are going to have a complete reimagining of what white-collar work will look like, including having a decentralized workforce, a rise of flexible office spaces, blind/unbiased hiring practices (to improve diversity and inclusion), and a more significant focus on wellness. So, what will workplaces look like, and how will it affect business and leadership?
The “6-Feet Office” Temporary or Forever?
Fortunately, a lot of young professionals have never had to experience working in an enclosed cubicle. Since the early 2010s, companies started redesigning their office space to be open and breathable with the hopes of improving collaboration and innovation.
The post-COVID office could introduce an even more spacious open working environment, with a couple of minor tweaks (if needed) like plastic sneeze guards and dividers that encourage staying within your workspace.
The term for this “Orwellian” type of office has been coined the “6-feet” office, though we hope the name doesn’t stick, it will lead to offices that are more spacious and mindful of employees’ health.
COMPANIES WILL FOCUS MORE ON HOLISTIC INTERIOR DESIGN
Whether it’s a large office or a flexible workspace, there is going to be a push for holistic environments.
Why? Wellness has now become the most important aspect of office design. Companies have already started embracing spacious, eco-friendly areas that will be open enough to collaborate and spacious enough to have employees have breathing room — and hopefully create a reasonable distance when people sneeze.
Companies are starting to invest in a coworking environment. The reason being is that they can have a private office and build their presence in high-volume areas. So flexible arrangements will have to become the norm.
Businesses Will NEED to Offer Flexible Arrangements
Once again, there is no date set for everyone to start going back to the office at full capacity. So businesses have quickly adapted to flexible working arrangements. That’s how some white-collar enterprises have managed to remain productive, given the current circumstances.
The changes that have been made show that a company doesn’t have to all be in the same building just to be productive.
So now, there’s a lot of research being done on even more ways to be flexible with employees that could not only help with productivity but save the company a lot of money on rent, amenities, and resources. Here are just a few ways different arrangements that can be made:
- Telecommuting: Some days at the office, some at home
- Remote Working: Work from home … or anywhere with Wifi
- Condensed Workweeks: 4-Day workweeks
- Customized Working Hours: Choose your 40hours
Companies are even offering workers thousands of dollars in stipends to either work from home or at coworking spaces with small teams.
Leadership Will Have to Adapt & Show (More) Empathy
Let’s face it; everyone is a poor mood right now. We are all dealing with a lot of bad news, and it’s coming at us in waves. While it’s nice to think that every manager is going to do a great job leading people in a situation like this, the reality is that they don’t. Fortunately, the rise of servant leadership has helped create mindful workspaces.
Since times are tough, leaders need to give their best to keep the team morale up. Not just now, but eventually when people start moving back to their office.
Given the situation, managers are going to have to work on becoming better leaders. Unfortunately, there are still going to be a few that won’t make an effort to adapt. The analytical (black & white) type of manager is going to have to learn how to adapt to all the new tools and work styles that have been used at progressive companies for years.
There is a lot of material that has been written that can help managers become better leaders and hopefully become a change agent.
LEADER WILL HAVE TO PUT MORE FOCUS ON WELLNESS
Remember the days of having to work through sickness at the job, just because your presence at an office is was what you were being measured on? That mentality should be thrown out entirely. While most companies aren’t are reasonable with treating employees that are under the weather, there are still a plethora of horror stories of companies pushing employees to their max — Seriously, just go through Glassdoor.
Making sure that sick employees stay at home, and giving them the option to work from home or just use the day to rest, could be the “pick me up,” they need.
Of course, preventive measures can be taken to create cleaner workspaces, consistently cleaning, making sure that employees sanitize their environment, or giving the breathing rooms and outdoor area (if it’s available) to be outside and ease their mind. There are many caveats to workplace wellness, but to remain topical, having a clean environment should be square one.
If there’s one lesson that has come out of the pandemic, it’s that employees can be efficient working from remote locations. It might even be less distracting to work from home or out of coffee shop … or shared space.
How Is Your Business Adapting to the Challenges Caused by COVID19?
Like all businesses, Minds CoWork is staying resilient. We are helping Miami-based businesses out by providing breathable, well-designed office spaces. Feel free to reach us at email@example.com or shoot us a call at (305) 901-4811.
Let us know that you came in through this blog and tell us how COVID has impacted your business, and we’ll find a way to accommodate you and give you a reasonable rate — even a free month at the office.