These are strange and introspective times we are going through. A lot of us are experiencing a wide range of emotions and changes as we must adapt to new circumstances and acclimatize to the "new normal." What "work" meant to us even as close as a month ago is drastically different from what we know it to mean today. While this pandemic is inevitably harmful to public health, the economy, and the lives of thousands, we wanted to focus today on the silver lining related to the working life. This COVID-19 pandemic will unquestionably leave its mark on how we approach our work in the long run. Here are 7 trends we expect to see in the years to come as we slowly move away from this global confinement.
Companies will focus on the well-being of their employees
Because this is closely related to our company's mission, this was, for us, the first one that came to mind. People will be looking for employers that place a high value on the wellness of their employees. This will play out in the kind of benefits employers offer: support for mental and physical health, paid leaves, etc. It will advantage companies whose cultures value flexibility, empathy, engagement, and a healthy work-life balance.
It will also transpire in how offices are designed: does this seating plan respect social distancing norms? Is it ergonomically designed for optimal health and performance? Employers might also consider adding spaces to recreate what people got used to at home like lounge areas or a functional kitchen.
More time will be spent working from home
In the last few weeks, thousands of people had to find a way to adapt their work to be able to be productive from their homes. Managers who were reluctant to let employees work from home are now confronted with the fact that it is possible to do so, and in many cases, efficient. Employees will have set up a functional and comfortable office space at home, and are undoubtedly enjoying the fact that their commute has gone from a busy 45-minutes metro ride to a 30-second walk down the stairs. While working from home comes with its challenges, especially if you have kids, we suspect that many will want to continue working from home a few days a week or a month.
Our (work) life will continue to migrate online
Working from home was made possible because of how quickly we were able to move our life online. From university classes to company meetings, food services, and fitness classes, everything from our life seemed to have found a way to migrate on the internet. We will become increasingly dependent on technology as more and more services become digitalized – think about the vital role telemedicine played in the last few weeks. Travel and crowd restrictions have pushed the emergence of innovative ways to recreate large gatherings like conferences, training workshops, and even TV shows online and will continue to do so.
Innovation will thrive
The pandemic forced people to think outside the box and make possible the impossible very quickly. Web platforms that were in the works for months became readily available. Bureaucracy barriers and procedures were bypassed in scientific research to accelerate the search for a vaccine or adequate medication. This astonishing adaptability and focus on speed and efficiency over perfection will hopefully continue and drive innovation.
There will be a reorientation of the workforce
A lot of people will take this time to reevaluate who they are and what kind of work they want to do. Layoffs and the likely closure of certain businesses will force some to reimagine another work life for themselves. They will have to reflect on what kind of skills they have and how they can contribute differently.
For some, this crisis will make them reexamine their priorities. Maybe they were working in a field considered "non-essential" and would have preferred otherwise, and vice-versa. Maybe the confinement made them realize that their work-life balance wasn't what they wished it would be.
Certainly, this pandemic will have made some fields thrive, creating new job opportunities, while other sectors will struggle to reemploy all their staff. Increasing online opportunities will also considerably change the work landscape, creating connections that were unimaginable before.
We will value the importance of communities and our role in it
This crisis has pushed us to see beyond individualism and act with the safety of our community in mind. It made us realize how linked our faiths are and how much of an impact we can have on others. Being confined at home made a lot of people think about how they could help, what they had to offer. The importance we'll put on communities will transpire in the workplace by underlining the importance of each of our roles in it. We won't take for granted the essentiality of grocery and delivery workers, the courage of health care workers, and we will have restored faith in experts. It will also affect the choices we make in terms of whom we decide to buy from and what type of businesses we decide to work with.
We will focus on producing and consuming locally
A trend that was on the rise before the pandemic, but will undeniably be propelled by it, is the importance of consuming and producing locally. On the one hand, scarcity of necessary materials like N-95 masks and respirators will create a need for being self-sufficient and have reliable domestic supply chains, especially when it comes to essential medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.
On the other, a struggling economy encourages us to invest in local businesses. Buying from local shops, eating at our neighbourhood restaurants, prioritizing food that is grown and produced locally, planning future travels in the region, will all boost the local economy and provide jobs in our communities.
Where ergonofis stands
At ergonofis, we are keeping our online shop open to make your transition to telework easier. Our warehouse is respecting social distancing and sanitization guidelines to make sure our products get to you in the safest way possible.
Producing locally and encouraging our fellow local entrepreneurs is something we strongly believe in and have been supporting since the founding of our company. We vow to keep doing so to boost our economy and do our part for our community.
ergonofis was created to promote a wholesome and fulfilling relationship with work. Our goal is to continuously look for innovative ways to keep you healthy, productive, and inspired at work. To do so, we stay informed on the latest research, we welcome change and remain attuned to customers' needs.
Our company culture encourages flexibility, and our offices are ergonomically designed to ensure the well-being of our employees. We believe in a flat organizational structure that fosters independent thinking. We want our employees to challenge us and be an essential part of decision-making. We stay open-minded and receptive to our employees' and our customers' ideas and remarks.
While our office is currently closed, we are all working from home to fulfill orders, but also to provide tips on how to adjust to working from home and set up an ergonomic office space. We even have playlists to keep you productive and entertained! So do not hesitate to reach out if there is any way we can help you through this time.
What is certain is that these extraordinary times will engender changes that we can't even come close to envisioning now. Our resilience and adaptability as a group are put to the test more than ever. How do you think this pandemic will affect the future of work? What changes would you want to see coming out of this? We'd love to hear your thoughts!