COVID-19 has changed our way of life for the foreseeable future. And that includes our workplace lives. Many workers who used to work in a traditional office have been working from home since mid-March, with no end in sight for some. In fact, companies like Twitter have announced that their employees can work from home indefinitely if they’d like. Twitter is unique in that the company already encouraged its employees to work from wherever they wanted. Their pre-pandemic official policy on employee relocation requests was “get to yes.” Despite the company’s openness to working from home, only 3% of their employees had taken them up on it…until the pandemic hit, that is. Currently, Twitter offices remain closed.
Here at VersaTel Solutions, our employees are experts at virtual work. Whether it’s our bookkeepers or our administrative experts, our workers are 100% remote. But for employees who don’t work VersaTel Solutions, Twitter, or other companies that embraced working from home pre-pandemic, what will the office of the near-future look like? USA Today columnist Bob O’Donnell took a look at what’s on the horizon, and here are three of his takeaways:
Video-conferencing isn’t going away – “Platforms like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, etc. are – like it or not – with us to stay. It’s an approach that literally overnight went from something unusual to completely mainstream, and the remote workplace has created habits that we’re not going to be able to simply walk away from.” We’ve discussed in our blog that the novelty of video meetings is wearing off. O’Donnell says, “the number and length of video-based meetings will likely decline somewhat over time. They are starting to evolve, however, thanks to the immense competition among the different platforms and the critical factor that programmers who are creating these tools have to use them extensively as well.”
New software will make in-person and virtual work easier – “We’re starting to see companies look at new software solutions to both ease the back-to-office process, as well as improve the overall employee experience,” says O’Donnell. “It’s all part of a bigger effort we will likely see grow and evolve as companies try to figure out how to best leverage technology to maintain closer, more personal connections with employees, a need essentially created by this pandemic.”
Density of workplaces will change – Some workplaces are already using rotating workplace schedules to reduce the number of people working in-person at a time. One thing workers who have a choice whether or not to return to the office: “In most cases, the work environments people return to will include physical changes to facilitate social distancing practices through the introduction of things like plastic barriers, higher cube walls, rearranged environments and more. In short, it’s not likely to be what you remembered.” Research has shown that younger, unmarried workers are more likely to want to return to the office. It can be assumed that the social aspect of in-person learning has something to do with that fact. Managers should expect some workers may change their minds about working in the office when they find out it’s harder to socialize.
If you’ve discovered that your needs have changed this year, reach out to VersaTel Solutions to see how we can help. We can help you with many office responsibilities, from bookkeeping to hiring. to Process Management and streamlining policies. And, as always, we do it all virtually.