Getting back to the normal routine ranks high on everyone’s list at this point in the pandemic. Once Covid-19 is better under control, what will the office environment look like? Read on for an idea of the potential changes lying ahead at work.
Masks, hand sanitizer become commonplace
Like it or not, masks are likely here to stay. Other countries have been donning masks at the first sign of illness, and it’s highly likely that that trend will continue elsewhere. Flu rates have even dropped during the 2020-2021 winter season, a time when rates normally rise.
Masks are not created equally. N95 face masks offer a tight, no-gap fit for anyone without facial hair. These masks, which can be found at retailers like Green Supply, filter out the majority of particles smaller than 300 nanometers. That efficient filtering capability makes N95 face masks the top choice for healthcare workers and makes an easy leap to the office environment. With high-level respiratory protection, it just might become the “go-to” item during the flu season after the pandemic is over.
While hand sanitizer was once something reserved for the elementary school set, it’s another item we won’t ditch once the pandemic is over. Hand sanitizing upon office entry and exit, with sanitizing breaks scheduled through the day, will be the new normal. It’s a simple way to keep everyone from racking up the sick days.
Remote work brought a lot of change and helped workers everywhere get a better grip on work-life balance. Offices that formerly prized arriving early and staying late may run into trouble when it comes to retaining workers. If the Covid-19 lockdowns have shown anything, it’s that people can get work done from home — and often in less time.
Lengthy commutes, poor office culture and never-ending meetings were once generally accepted as a part of life, but that mode of thinking is changing. Now that everyone has been forced to shake things up, employees and employers are seeing a different way of getting things done.
Many companies now realize the benefits of a remote labor force. The larger labor pool of a remote office has proven enticing to numerous employers. Gone may be the time when employers shelled out big bucks for offices in prime locations — and the long commutes employees had to undertake to get there.
Remote office culture
Companies once relied on extras, like free snacks or dog-friendly offices, to lure in new talented help. Those moves were sometimes at the expense of other important benefits, like mental healthcare or extra vacation days. All of those shiny extras won’t make up for the kind of life employees now envision.
Life after Covid-19 could mean a different take on the way we used to approach the office. Some 62 percent of employed Americans worked from home at some point as of April 2020, according to a Gallup poll. That number has likely only increased. It stands to reason that we could see a change in the usual office hours or location.
Rather than the straight workdays of the not-so-distant past, remote working is here to stay for many industries. Zoom meetings and FaceTime will become commonplace. Some offices will turn to hybrid models, allowing for remote and in-person work on an at-will basis or for certain days of the week.
Changing office dynamics
Many experts believe that Covid-19 will never entirely disappear, so keep investing in sturdy, yet comfortable, N95 masks to wear wherever you go. While your boss may never tire of meetings that could have been accomplished over an e-mail, masks, a better work-life balance and remote working are likely here to stay.