How COVID has Changed the Workplace
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in countless ways and will have long-lasting impacts on the way we work. Even after a vaccine and treatments are developed and this pandemic is behind us, much of how COVID has changed the workplace will stay for years, even decades.
At Empire Resume, we’re thinking about what post-pandemic workplaces will look like. After all, we can’t assume that we’ll be working remotely forever. Waiters, schoolteachers, warehouse workers, factory workers, and even those in the corporate sector will one day return to the office.
Let’s look at the ways COVID has changed the workplace for the foreseeable future and perhaps even our lifetimes.
1. Remote Work Will Remain
The most obvious change that has occurred and will likely continue is more remote working for those in the corporate sector. Any objections large firms may have had to remote work are simply evaporating as leadership realizes that productivity remains high and employees are happier.
In fact, a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) concluded that 75% of employees report being able to maintain or improve productivity on their individual tasks.
Remote work may not remain at the level it is now, but many workers will likely see their employers adopting a hybrid approach and remote work will become the norm rather than the exception.
2. A Change in Corporate Culture
Even with more remote work in place, some corporations will want some workers to return to the physical office environment. After all, there are just some things that are done more effectively face-to-face than over a Zoom call.
Temperature checks upon entering the building and social distancing will be the norm at first. But once there’s a vaccine and reliable treatments in place, an office will be will become a far more social environment where interaction and community will be valued.
After a year or more of social distancing and working remotely, the question becomes “why come into an office just to shut your door and not talk to anyone?” If you need to social distance, then stay at home. But if you come in, take advantage of being able to work together. You’re likely to see more communal meeting places and layouts that take advantage of the times when people are in the same place at the same time.
3. A Few Factory Fixes
Factory workers can expect their working environments to change as a result of COVID as well. Facemasks are likely to become a permanent part of the uniform. In addition, assembly lines will be reconfigured and, in some cases, retooled, so that workers can stand and work six feet apart if they weren’t able to already.
If tools are needed for the job, then employers may invest in each employee having their own set of tools. Or, at least set up sanitization protocols for shared tools.
4. Warehouse Workarounds
Warehouse workers haven’t ever really left the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, they’ve become more vital than ever as e-commerce has ramped up. But that doesn’t mean that warehouses haven’t changed to help keep workers safer.
Designated areas for specific types of work are now the norm. There will be a specific station for receiving, packing, and taking inventory. Each area will have just a few employees dedicated to the task. The same set up would go for receiving items and getting them into inventory.
We’ll also see an increased reliance on cloud-based warehouse management systems to reduce person-to-person interactions.
5. Restaurant Re-dos
Few industries have suffered more than the restaurant industry amid the pandemic. Millions of restaurant workers were laid off and thousands of cafes, restaurants, and diners are closing.
One way restaurants are surviving is by offering more curbside pickup and delivery. And customers love it. In the kitchen, you’ll see hairnets as always, and facemasks may take So wait staff should be able to pivot from waiting tables to running outside as needed.
Kitchens may be enlarged to allow for social distancing while prepping meals. Some will also install larger refrigeration units due to the (hopefully) increased need to store ingredients for dine-in customers, delivery customers, and curbside pick-up customers.
6. Grocery Stores Change up Their Game
Like most restaurants, grocery stores have changed drastically since the pandemic hit. Many of these changes will likely last long after the pandemic is over.
Cashiers should get used to those big plastic partitions between them and the customers. They provide a large amount of protection with little inconvenience, so why not keep them? Again, masks are a no brainer and will be around for some time.
Many grocery stores will also have cashiers add the “sanitation break” added into their routine. For example, every 30 minutes, they’ll stop taking customers and disinfect their area including the glass partition, conveyor belt, bagging area, and more.
One classic grocery store role that may go away for the foreseeable future is the bagger. It is convenient for the customer, but there’s no reason to add that extra pair of hands into the mix if it isn’t really necessary.
Finding Work After COVID has Changed the Workplace
If you’ve lost your job due to COVID and are looking to rejoin the workforce, then the ways certain industries are changing can provide clues into where employment opportunities exist. These types of jobs may be in demand:
- IT experts: More remote work means that companies will be relying on technology more than ever to ensure that everyone stays connected. Demand for IT technicians will likely rise as new software systems will need to be purchased, installed, maintained, and upgraded.
- Internet installation: People are finding that they need faster internet service. Everyone in the family is home all day and everyone is using the internet for work, school, and entertainment. See if there’s an opportunity for you to find work with a local cable provider. You may see job openings in sales, installation, or customer service.
- Commercial refrigeration: As mentioned above, restaurants may be increasing their fridge and freezer capacity in the near future. Having the skills to install and maintain commercial-grade refrigeration units will be very valuable.
- Restaurant worker: To get hired in the food service industry in the post-COVID world, try not to think of yourself as a server only. You’ll be more get hired at a restaurant when you’re able to offer a broad range of skills.
Show restaurants that you have experience waiting tables and have a polished phone presence. Show them you have a clean driving record and a reliable car, but also the ability to enhance their social media game. All these skills will increase your chances of getting hired.
COVID Has Changed the Workplace, and Us
After the pandemic is over, we may gladly do away with some behaviors and lifestyle modifications we’ve adopted. However, there are some changes that are likely here to stay. It’s important for all of us to understand how COVID has changed the workplace in our lifetimes.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.