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How Covid Has Changed the Way We Work

How Covid Has Changed the Way We Work

Back on December 31st 2019, most people in the UK thought that the biggest news story over the coming year was more or less guaranteed to be Brexit. The idea that society as we know it might effectively shut down, and that we’d all be forbidden from leaving the house for months on end, might have been laughed at.

What was once unthinkable, of course, is now mundane. We’ve all gotten used to changing the way we live our lives in order to reduce the spread of a deadly contagion.

Businesses scrambled to put in place measures that would allow them to keep operating. In some cases, those measures have persisted. Many of them, in fact, look likely to be with us for the foreseeable future.

Remote Working

Perhaps the most considerable cultural shift has been the acceptance of remote working. Employers, prior to the pandemic, were hesitant to allow their staff to work from home. They feared that this would lead to a slump in productivity, and an increase in distraction.

The lockdown triggered a huge and widespread experiment in remote working practices. It’s been a qualified success, and now remote working is regularly offered by employers advertising new positions, and expected by the candidates applying for those positions.

Greater Flexibility

It’s inarguable that working practices more generally have gotten flexible. So-called ‘hybrid’ working, allows workers to come into the office on some days and stay at home on others. This flexibility provides workers with a better work-life balance, while also allowing for the advantages of face-to-face communication in the office and boardroom.

To accommodate these new working practices, new HR procedures and systems need to be introduced. Since this is a problem that workplaces around the world are having to contend with, there are off-the-shelf solutions available.

Employee Relations

The absence of dialogue and social interaction between remote-working team members might make it more difficult for everyone to work as part of a cohesive unit. Relations might become frosty when things aren’t going quite to plan. To counter this, workplaces might consider arranging social gatherings outside of working hours – or more traditional team-building retreats.

Virtual Training Sessions

During the pandemic, there was a substantial uptick in online learning activities. Many of us were keen to make the most of the time by picking up new skills in virtual training sessions. Even once we can gather together for a face-to-face classroom experience, there’s still something to be said for the online alternative. Virtual training sessions allow us to eliminate the cost of travel, which in the case of highly-specialized courses might be prohibitive. They’re also easier to balance with work commitments – which means, in practice, that staff who want to be trained will have an easier time getting their way.

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by Marissa Collins //

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.