– Megan Glenn
Megan Glenn is a freelance writer with extensive expertise in a plethora of subjects, including: home decor, business, lifestyle, and more. She’s been writing professionally for over a decade, and has had the pleasure of working with incredible publishers over the years including Faxage. She believes in telling a story, not just finding information. And finding a story amongst the most mundane, is her favorite. She has spent years writing for industrial giants and groundbreaking fashion brands alike. When she’s not spending her time researching, writing, and making connections, you can find her on the yoga mat, in her favorite reading nook, or among family.
The Future of Work in the Post COVID-19 Era
No one ever imagined the massive shift in the modern workforce that seemed to happen overnight. Everyday water-cooler moments with co-workers may never be the same, and business leaders have a massive task before them in providing leadership during these ambiguous times.
There are serious obstacles that companies are facing that far surpass mere convenience, which involve everything from new legal considerations to managing lifestyle changes, and providing employees with additional support.
New Workers Compensation Commission Protections by State
Thus far, many states such as Alaska, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin, have rolled out Worker’s Compensation policies that automatically credit an employee’s contraction of COVID-19 to their working conditions. Employers only have 30-days to provide substantial evidence proving the coronavirus contraction was not due to workplace negligence. The new legal ramifications that are slowly sweeping across America, are requiring businesses to create internal response teams to comb through Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) guidelines to create policies, procedures, and craft Infectious Disease Response plans.
Companies are meeting these new obligations by making telecommuting a permanent solution to reduce risk. Twitter has led the charge in reducing workplace risk by making the decision to convert to a permanent telecommuting model, which impacts job roles, standard work hours, and entire company cultures. This could also lead to a potential rise in co-working spaces when social distancing restrictions ease in the future.
Central actions that have been taken to safeguard workers in a corporate setting has been implementing telecommuting policies. But companies that find it challenging to convert their workforce to a permanent Work From Home model are putting policies and procedures in place to protect employees in the workplace.
- Companies have a difficult decision to implement in-office medical screenings and temperature checks for employees entering their place of work. Other policies that may have to be considered are requiring employees to report out-of-state travel, and asking employees to work from home if it becomes known that they are not practicing social distancing outside of the workplace.
- Remote communications inside workplaces will more than likely be implemented to maintain social distancing inside office spaces. Having a virtual meeting with a co-worker that’s only a few feet away may become standard practice. Construction sites and warehouses will be forced to rely on two-way radio systems to communicate versus in-person communications to touch base on the day’s tasks.
- Cleaning schedules and deep cleaning services will have to be utilized daily. Hiring in house cleaning teams may be a more cost-efficient method for e-commerce, manufacturing, and distribution industries.
- Providing facemasks, gloves, and plexiglass that divide workstations to increase social distancing will be a cost that companies must incur.
Continuing to Cultivate Innovation
The rapid propulsion in the conversion to telecommuting is creating new obstacles that companies are racing to remove.
- Community is a significant part of the workplace, and companies are faced with the challenge of cultivating community while supporting growth and innovation. Video conferencing and Discord channels are helping to bridge this gap and help to create more natural interaction between employees.
- 36% of Americans have reported that the coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted their mental health. The pandemic has produced more mental health issues in the workforce as people’s work-life balance have been dramatically disrupted. Employees are juggling work demands with increased family needs, along with the overall stress of adapting to a new world. Health insurance providers are beefing up group plans to help provide more support, and companies are communicating changes to employees more than ever.
A Rise in Automation
Automation is on the rise, as companies are looking to cut costs, trim layers of fat, and make up for a sluggish economy. Businesses that have grown because of social distancing measures are using automation to reshape their middle management layers to increase resources in other areas. Tedious duties that middle managers are used to conducting will likely go away, and managers will have to add value by showing their strategic planning skills, learning new areas of the business, and tackling advanced people management roles.
The sudden shift to telecommuting is testing the command and control component of many work environments and is putting more importance on building trust. Organizations are looking to inspire workers to rally together under a united cause in an attempt to accelerate momentum.