As some small businesses and organizations start to slowly return to their physical locations, it is helpful to take a moment to consider some of the main changes that will occur in the workplace after COVID-19. Your small business should take the time to consider how these changes will impact your own organization and determine how to best optimize your company’s operations so that you can successfully meet your objectives.
In this article, we will communicate some expert predictions on how the small business workplace will change because of COVID-19, so that you will be better prepared for the post-pandemic corporate environment.
Extreme Attention to Employee Health and Well-Being
The devastating impact of the pandemic will have a lasting effect on employees in every type of business. Because of the mental and physical pain inflicted upon workers during the virus, experts note that an organization’s first and most important message to their employees must be that their health and safety will always be the top priority.
As a result, many organizations will assign the important responsibility of maintaining the safety of their workplace to one of their leadership team members or will create a new position to handle this challenging task. Their job will be to formulate and execute clear company policies that will effectively protect employees from future risks and to communicate these efforts regularly to all stakeholders.
To continue to protect employees during and after this pandemic, companies will institute common-sense measures such as: demanding enhanced, deeper cleaning of the location, reinforcing good hygiene practices via written and oral communications, spacing out workstations, providing plexiglass sneeze guards and personal protective equipment, and limiting personal meetings. In addition, there will be enhanced monitoring efforts of employee health along with strict orders for any employee feeling sick in any way to avoid the office.
In addition, it will be imperative that companies provide sufficient paid medical leave to their employees. This will ensure that staff members are not reluctant to stay at home when they are ill or when they have a sick family member at their residence.
Companies will also make a point of emphasizing to their employees that mental health leave is available to deal with the aftermath of this pandemic as well as the effect of any future crises. They will also make their staff more aware of where they can find publicly available resources for useful mental health information and assistance.
Employees Will Want to Be Part of a Team with a Greater Mission
The pandemic has made many individuals carefully evaluate their lives along with the importance of their job and organization. A good work/life balance and the positive impact of their organization’s mission have become more important to most employees. Companies will need to work hard to stress the worth of their organization’s mission along with the value they place on their employees. Organizations will also devote considerable resources to ensuring that their employees feel comfortable at their company and that they are part of a team working together to achieve a higher purpose.
Businesses will also need to make a point to give their employees opportunities to blow off steam, socially interact, and bond as a work family. This is especially important during any new crises. In short, a happier, less stressed worker that feels like they are part of a team will always be a more productive worker. When employees are experiencing less anxiety as well as increased support from their colleagues, they will be more engaged and more effective at their jobs.
Companies Will Offer More Remote Work Options and Flexibility
This pandemic has demonstrated that different types of work can function reasonably well, and many companies can be enhanced by offering remote work options and worker flexibility. Employees from all industries have appreciated the benefits of mandated remote work for their quality of life and for their emotional well-being. A recent Gallup survey found that 54% of U.S. workers would drop their current job for a new one that allowed them to work remotely. In turn, employers have noted the improved productivity that results from having happy workers as well as the advantage of lower operating costs with less employees at a physical location. For these reasons, most organizations will be offering their employees enhanced remote work options as well as flexible work hours even after the pandemic is over.
For most companies, the post-virus work option answer will be a hybrid solution where managers and employees will work to determine the optimal schedules that will deliver the desired quality of life and worker productivity. There are clearly some employees and work groups that will be more productive in a partial or full telework setting, while others need physical interaction and collaboration to achieve the best results.
Companies will also offer assistance to their employees to purchase and utilize equipment and accessories that will make their telework environment more pleasant and productive.
In addition, companies will also need to be prepared to return to full telework status to meet a future crisis. As a result, companies will be investing a lot of time and effort concerning their business continuity and backup capabilities.
Increased Reliance on New Technologies
Business experts note that organizations will have to make a meaningful investment in new technologies to best meet the challenges of the post-virus world. The most important technology area that companies will be investing heavily in are the tools needed for effective remote work. Companies will be carefully selecting the best virtual meeting tools to help overcome bandwidth and other performance issues in order to make employee collaboration more effective.
Companies will also have to devote more time and investment in E-Learning options as the desire and need for in-person learning programs will decline in the aftermath of the pandemic. These training activities and tools will help in a huge variety of work functions, and they will also make remote work more comfortable and productive for their employees.
Experts predict that there will also be a significant growth in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve knowledge sharing and knowledge creation in order to strengthen organizational connectivity. Companies will utilize this technology to keep employees well-informed about any challenges to the organization’s mission. These efforts will improve employee morale and enhance their staff’s resilience against any disruptions.
Consult with your IT Support Partner
During and after the pandemic, it will be important to seek out guidance from a trusted IT Support partner, such as Network Depot. A reliable IT partner will have the experience and insight into your company’s unique needs to help you most effectively understand and react to the upcoming changes discussed in this article. Your IT partner will offer suggestions on the best hardware and software tools, training materials, and other equipment that will assist your small business in meeting the challenges brought about by this crisis and its aftermath.
With the assistance of a trusted IT Support partner, your organization will be able to more effectively achieve its unique mission in the face of the challenges and workplace changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.