For many of us, the coronavirus has been the most significant, and perhaps the most traumatic, experience of our lives. It will have a huge impact on us as individuals, as a society and as a workforce. Although it’s hard to imagine right now, the coronavirus crisis will end, and things will get back to normal. Well, some things will go back to the way they were. For others, there will be a new normal.
When a major event happens that poses an existential threat, many of the norms of life change, some in the short term and some for the long term. Almost two decades ago, 9/11 made an impact on how we live and behave. In that period of fear and panic in 2001, companies stopped allowing their people to travel, for example. Those policies faded, just as we no longer feel a surge of fear on the jet bridge, glancing at each other while trying determine if our fellow passengers are a threat. But the airport process that gets us into that smaller seat with less legroom has changed forever. Just try bringing a bottle of water through security, and you’ll be reminded of just one of the enduring changes.
Just as with 9/11, many of the major coronavirus changes that we’re experiencing now will evaporate, and things will go back to the way they were without much notice. We’ll adopt the mindsets and postures we had before the crisis. But the coronavirus will permanently alter many elements of how we work. Let’s first talk about how the coronavirus is unique. It’s:
- Global. By definition, a pandemic affects almost everybody, regardless of role, industry or location on the planet. Though infection rates are higher among frontline workers, COVID-19 has affected business owners, rank-and-file staff and the many managers in between. On September 11, if you didn’t live in New York and didn’t fly a lot, your life wasn’t radically altered. With Hurricane Katrina, the nation was saddened by the devastation as they watched the tragic aftermath play out, but most Americans weren’t directly affected.
- Enduring. Unlike a hurricane or earthquake, the pandemic has been more than a fleeting event. It has unfolded over many months, with no firm end date in sight.
- Pervasively disruptive. The coronavirus dramatically changed the way we live and work. It affected virtually every element of life. The grocery suppliers were disrupted, schools became virtual and people who could WFH were required to do so. Things we took for granted, like a trip to the dentist or the hair salon, have become verboten.
- Impossible to ignore. During the 2008 financial crisis or the California wildfires, there were many other news stories being shared on TV and in social media. With COVID-19, it’s been a 24/7 nearly all-consuming news cycle that’s almost exclusively focused on the pandemic.
1. Corporate flexibility. People quickly figured out how to work from home. When the pandemic subsides, WFH will remain popular with professionals, and that will force companies—even those that were not the biggest proponents of having a virtual workforce—to become more flexible. Now that more people have had a taste of it and proven their productivity, it will be hard for companies to take it away from their talent. A Gallup survey revealed that 54% of U.S. workers would leave their current job for one that allowed them to work remotely.
And while professionals were celebrating their 30-second commute, it became clear to companies that the huge line item on their spreadsheets for real estate may not be the best way to spend their money. Having people work from home—even if it’s not everyone all the time—is proving to be profitable.
Source - Read More at: www.forbes.com