Will Working from Home be the Norm?
It depends on the industry and company as to how badly it will be affected after COVID19 Lockdown eases. Some Businesses that can allow it will likely stay in the current set up for a while until coronavirus cases in England have reduced to far lower numbers. Many employees may be high risk or have high-risk family members and as long as the work can be continued in the current set up, it makes sense too.
Some businesses will have to go back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible if workers need to have access to anything CAD related, or that uses expensive software, or even has high risks of leaking information. Likely due to their working ability being reduced while not having access to this information/software and therefore not being able to do their jobs while working from home.
There will be a divide in Companies when it comes to this. Places like Nationwide have had on and off rotations of staff going into the office throughout the whole of lockdown(them being an example of a company who cannot fully run from homeworkers alone), but companies like JP Morgan have been working from home even before the lockdown was put in place and continue to do so for the moment.
They have mentioned they will be implementing a rotational plan to reduce the number of people in the office at one time but have no date for when this will be started.
Effects of Home Working
The effect that this extended period of home working will have on work environments is that many employers will no longer have a reason to refuse home working requests beyond COVID19.
Whether this is for comfort or for safety reasons, many people may wish to continue working from home and if this is the case it could change the traditional office set up forever.
The benefits of employees working from home include: Cost saving for employers for office rental (whether reducing the size or not having one altogether), Happier employees that feel trusted and comfortable, happy employees can lead to increased productivity.
However, some companies find ‘working from home’ an issue when trying to manage workers and could cause a long term issue for the quality of service .e.g. unmonitored customer service
Will People be Shaking Hands?
The short answer is definitely not for a long time… if ever. Many medical professionals from different regions have made statements advising against all human contact with people outside of households and one leading expert in infectious diseases, Gregory Poland said - ‘When you extend your hand, you’re extending a bioweapon ’ and says that removing this gesture from common use could reduce the risk of many viruses spreading in the future.
How Long Will Social Distancing be in Effect and How Will This Affect the Workplace Dynamic?
No Governments have given exact dates and it is unlikely they will as no one can predict what will happen for the future.
Most likely it will be dependent on your preference and the companies you work for as to whether you will continue to abide by the social distancing for longer than others. For example, if you are a higher risk e.g. elderly or have lung problems you may make the choice to continue the isolation or distancing until all cases are gone.
With furlough options being extended all the way to October, with stricter stipulations and less funding, the reality for some is that a handful of businesses will not be returning at all. It is terrible to see the struggle that the Coronavirus and lockdown have had on some industries however we are seeing other unique businesses pop up in response to the pandemic e.g. food delivery services/cooked meals, Home business like jewelry making, Online chat services like Zoom or House party, selling and making of fashionable face masks(large market right now). The business initiative of some people is shining through as new and wonderful ways to pass the time and make money in lockdown have appeared, it will be interesting to see which of these startups continue to thrive once lockdown measures have eased.
What Businesses Will We See Strive in This New Era?
Those businesses that make life easier or more enjoyable while in these unusual circumstances like;
-Any sort of food delivery service
-Any hobby-related businesses e.g. personal trainers offering recorded home workouts
-Small start-ups advertised on social media with good delivery options e.g. home jewelry making
-Homemade masks or even home soap makers (I have seen a few)
-Entertainment content (new shoes/new music/instagramers and YouTube artists). As people are bored at home, now is the perfect time to maximize on this and provide entertainment
-DIY and home improvement related companies like B&Q
-Gaming industry whether it is online games or outdoor tennis tables
-Gardening equipment and produce e.g. plants and seeds
-Bicycles and electric scooters, to combat the use of public transport for some
-Coffee… One company ‘Rave Coffee’, selling exotic coffees from an industrial unit in Cirencester, has said they have had to take on more staff to cope with the orders. My guess is it is all of those having to work from home with kids that are needing the exotic coffee pick me up…
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