Will things ever, really, go back to normal? The novel coronavirus has turned the world upside-down, and it did so in surprisingly short order. Thinking back to the way the world used to be, it’s bizarre to imagine entering a building without a mask now.
Remember when you used to shake people’s hands? And that was considered a polite thing to do, no less! Now, if you stand too close to someone, you’re not just being rude, you’re violating health guidelines.
For those who work in office environments, the pandemic has had another odd impact. It’s shown just how easy it is to do most office work from home. COVID caused many offices to grapple with how outdated the concept of having everyone work in the same space is.
So, what will the pandemic’s lasting effects on work be? Well, for one thing, working from home is going to be a lot more common from now on.
The office, as the modern American knows it, is something of a relic of a bygone era. Before the internet, before computer, clerical work needed to be done by people with access to common records. In order to talk to your coworkers, you’d have to actually talk to them.
You might get away with discussing something on the phone with your boss every once in a while. Typically, however, the American businessperson wanted to talk to you face-to-face.
With the advent of the internet and personal computers in every home, however, this is not necessary. Some people love the social aspect of working in an office, but few can call them “required” in the modern era.
Many offices were requiring employees to work in-person simply out of habit. They’ve always had workers in the building, why have anyone working from their couch? That’s not professional!
The sudden whiplash, from the world going on normally one day to COVID ending everything the next, sent millions of people home. Coders, writers, clerks, office workers of all types, suddenly found themselves just working from their home office. And managers the world over realized how this, actually, worked fine.
For most workplaces, working from home wasn’t a compromise. It wasn’t a half measure that was barely keeping things together. In fact, many realized that their workforce was more energized when working from their own space. As it turns out, technology allows for some amazing shifts in workplace culture!
So, in the decades that follow this bizarre episode in history, people will likely point to a number of things that led to the shift away from office-only workplaces. However, the one that will likely be remembered as having the most impact will be COVID-19.