What's Next? How will the coronavirus pandemic affect the way we work?


By Lee Hurley

The coronavirus pandemic is going to change the way we work, in many obvious ways but in some ways we simply don’t understand yet. For those who have long been calling for significant changes in how work is done, Covid 19 has turned a turtle into a hare. Those who made promises of a future commitment to culture change in the workplace have been catapulted to the here and now. In fact, as reported in a recent on the Forbes website, “The demands of the coronavirus pandemic were not answered in the production mentality of these companies, but in the nimble capacity to respond in inventive ways, from hiring workers from adjacent industries, training classroom faculty to teach online.”


For those workers in fields that cannot work from home, we will see a commitment to safety in terms of proximity to one another and essential gear (masks, gloves, cleaners, etc.) that will be needed the next time this type of pandemic might strike. For instance PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) states on a recent blog post,  “given the nature of the industry, manufacturers will need to consider how to create social distancing in workplaces that are typically worker-dense (e.g., manufacturing plants, warehouses, material movements and logistics, etc.).

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Operational changes

When asked how this pandemic is changing the way we work, Loyd McIntosh, Marketing Communications Coordinator for Automation Personnel Services said, “We have started doing more of our interview processes over the phone or on video conference platforms like Zoom, and we digitized most of our applications/onboarding paperwork. That has eliminated a large amount of the interview process that has typically been done face to face, and these changes are most likely going to be permanent.”

These types of changes will bring opportunity and challenges in the technology field. It would be hard to find anyone willing to suggest we are going fully back to communicating the way things were before this virus.   Face-to-face meetings will never go away completely. It’s hard to build long term relationships over a camera. However, as Apex Benefits writes, “the efficiency of those calls versus the time spent commuting to see clients has become more appreciated by both parties.”

What works well and what doesn’t

This is an excellent time for leaders on every level to look at what has been working and what has not in light of remote work, automation technologies and other processes that might be accelerated to help respond faster in the future or simply to change the way you work for good in many cases.  As readwrite offers, “It can often take a crisis to realize broken processes, failures in a system, or better ways to achieve things, learn and create.”

In other words, now is a great time to reflect and adjust.

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Tags: Working, Workplace Safety, Workforce development, Workplace development, Coronavirus, COVID-19