The new work normal
THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) pandemic has ushered in a new normal for many employees across the globe. With the requirement that we keep a minimum physical distance from others, not just in social settings, but at the workplace, many people are embracing working from home.
Many will agree that the benefits of this extend way beyond wearing comfortable clothes all day long. The change in environment has the potential for employees to be more efficient.
Workspaces can be customized for comfort and many who have tried the work from home routine for a few weeks will note that fewer breaks are taken and there is much less clock watching – no rush to run home at the end of the day!
Eliminating the commute means that we do not have to deal with traffic, public transportation or crowds in the city. Employees save more money because there’s no impulse buying or spending on fast food or lunch from restaurants. Healthy home cooked meals are much more economical, plus you know exactly what you are eating.
Of course, working from home presents challenges as well, in varying degrees, depending on personal circumstances. Instead of being more efficient, some do admit difficulty sticking to a routine and with a bed in the next room, some may not be able to
resist a power nap — or two, or three. If there are children or many other people at home, it may be near impossible to limit the distractions.
Keeping in contact with other colleagues for important tasks may also pose a challenge if colleagues are generally slow in responding to messages or emails.
But the potential that this new normal has exposed cannot be ignored. It offers the opportunity for both the private and public sector to enhance their capacity to work remotely, especially as this can be utilized in times of disaster and other emergencies.
The information technology tools that facilitate remote work sometimes also include features which make it possible for employers to objectively monitor the output of employees.
And remote work definitely reduces overhead costs at the central office with reduced use of utilities and supplies as fewer employees are at the office.
When the pandemic is over and the world settles down, many of the extra-ordinary emergency measures we are taking during this time of COVID-19 may just become a normal part of our new existence. We should start, even now, to assess the possible benefits so that we can plan ahead to enable better versions of ourselves, and our businesses, to emerge.