Close

April 21, 2020

COVID-19 TRANSITIONS BUSINESSES INTO TOMORROW’S WORKPLACE

The global fight against the  COVID-19  pandemic has yielded positive results as countries around the world are now formulating plans to open up their economies. However, questions remain. How will the work environment look? Will there be a return to regular business practices? Or will businesses see a new normalcy? 

The United States has implemented a plan to begin opening the economy as states will  determine  their outlook based on testing capacity and current impact of the virus. As states start to allow companies to return to everyday business, these organizations must  maintain  a safe environment for their team members. 

As a result of this slow shift to normal business practices, companies will change their work spaces, their processes, and their structures. 

Open, Collaborative Spaces Will Change 

Over the last decade, businesses have shifted from cubicle-style work spaces to a collaborative environment with an open structure. According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, this shift has allowed companies to fit more desks into their office space while also creating collaborative seating arrangements to expand their cultures and creativity. 

However, as companies return to their offices, they must  rethink  these spaces that have become the modern office style. The Chicago Tribune states that many modern office spaces have bench-style seating with employees’ desks adjoining one another. This set-up is  in conjunction with  other team members that are facing in additional bench-style seating. Furthermore, modern companies have created seating arrangements and large open meeting rooms where creativity and shared work materials  are encouraged. 

This style will change. Meeting room capacity  will be cut, collaborative seating  will be spaced  apart, and shared resources  will be limited. Additionally, employee work spaces  will be separated, and partitions may return to  ensure  health remains at the forefront. Although this change in a basic office set-up may seem trivial, many companies thrive on creating an incredible culture that fosters productivity through an open environment. This norm will change in the post COVID-19  work space. 

The Long-Term Impact 

Certain changes to work space norms may only be temporary; however, the impact of  COVID-19  will yield a long-term impact. Fortune.com states that companies will turn further digital and automated while shared surfaces will become a focus of sanitation. Businesses will look to alternative surface materials that do not hold the virus, censored-activated controls will increase, and a shift to remote work spaces will take effect. 

Businesses will become very health conscious as America’s economy begins its reopening. Organizations will  implement guidelines  on sanitation, and will also begin to move towards remote work spaces with most taking on a hybrid structure. 

Changes in Business Structure and Practices 

Business processes and structures will see an adaptation as the United States defeats  COVID-19. The outbreak of this virus has led to businesses downsizing their staffing, turning to virtual meetings, and delegating their business duties across their management team. As companies return to regular behavior, businesses will adapt to this new normal, and according to fortune.com, the following will be the result: 

  1. Middle managers will dissipate
  2. Business travel will decrease  significantly
  3. Managers will take a greater hands-on approach
  4. Hybrid remote work structures will become the norm

Summary 

The United States has released its  guidance  for reopening the economy as the fight against  COVID-19  continues. Businesses will begin to bring their team members back into office spaces, but not without changes to normal business protocols. 

Collaborative work spaces  will be changed  to  ensure  social distancing practices  remain. Companies who have thrived on the culture boost and creative energy generated from this environment must now  ensure  their team has a safe space to work. This new normal may only be in the short-term, but long-term changes to delegating  additional  hands-on work to management as well as creating a hybrid remote work structure will become the standard. 

Business travel will change as virtual meetings take place, and downsizing of middle management staff will take fold as companies have  adapted  during these trying times. As the American economy reopens, a shift in the workplace will unfold.

FWF CAREERS