How will coronavirus change working practices?
After almost 6 weeks of lockdown, companies and employees are used to the ‘new normal’ of remote working. But what will the lasting impact of coronavirus be on the way businesses are run?
With travel restrictions likely to remain in place long after lockdown has eased, companies are facing a long period of using video conferencing technology to keep in touch with clients, suppliers, and colleagues across the world. While these technologies are no substitute for building relationships face-to-face, businesses are likely to see that they can save money and time by taking at least some of their appointments online. Coupled with pressure from governments and the public regarding the climate crisis, we could be about to see a new era where business travel is only used for occasions when remote solutions are unviable.
Risk & Contingency Planning
All companies caught up in this crisis will now be aware if they weren’t already, of the importance of risk and contingency planning. It is likely that these procedures will become more robust in most organisations, and shared across the entire workforce, so that everyone knows what to do in a crisis situation. This will avoid the situation that some businesses have had in the current crisis where they have played very slow catch-up to very fast-moving events.
Sickness & Parental Leave Policies
This crisis has shown us all the importance of not going to work if you are sick! It is likely that employers will become both more lenient – in terms of self-reporting and entitlement to pay – and more draconian – in terms of insisting people do not come to work when they are unwell. It is also possible that we will see a relaxation of parental leave rules, with employers more sympathetic to the needs of parents and more willing to allow paid leave or working from home for childcare emergencies.
Another obvious development will be the rise of remote working as ‘normal.’ Some businesses may decide that they no longer need a physical office space at all, just access to meeting rooms or entertaining spaces when necessary. For some industries there is likely to be adoption of flexible hours for remote workers too, taking the attitude that it’s up to the worker to organise their time as long as the job gets done.
Let’s face it, we’d all like to see pointless meetings become a thing of the past! Now that we’ve all proved that we can work solo, and many businesses have used chat systems like Teams to keep in touch, the need for meetings in the future may drastically reduce. Of course there will always be issues that need to be discussed, but wouldn’t it be nice if we got rid of those ‘meetings for the sake of meetings?!’