It will be decades (or more) before we will have a real grasp on all of the ways coronavirus has affected us.
But, as many of us are adjusting to our “new normal,” we’re already beginning to see how COVID-19 is changing the way we work. We’re reimagining DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion); reshaping what a workplace looks like in terms of office space; and reigniting conversations about workplace safety and the dignity of work. And so much more.
Below are four ways coronavirus will continue to change the way Americans work.
- ‘The Great Resignation’: Businesses and offices have started to reopen, and because of that, employees have a choice to make. Will they stay or will they go? Across the country, we are seeing a record number of employees who are leaving or thinking about leaving their current jobs. Anthony Klotz, an associate professor at Texas A&M University, refers to this movement as ‘The Great Resignation’. Klotz, in an article with the Boston Globe, explained that people have adjusted to post-pandemic work-life and asking them to change is going to be difficult. But, he explained this isn’t just about employees preferring work-from-home (WFH) over being in the office. “Even the people who really want to go back to their office are thinking, ‘Will my office be the same? Will my coworkers be there? Will there be masks or social distancing.?’” he said. His solution: give your employees a sense of meaning and purpose. Give them a reason to stay!
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: According to the Center for American Progress, nearly 850,000 women dropped out of the labor force in September 2020. This was predominantly due to the child care and school crisis that occurred because of coronavirus. Infection rates were higher in urban areas. Those with lower socioeconomic status have less access to testing and vaccines. These are just some of the reasons why employers are beginning to reimagine what DE&I in the workplace means. Across the country we saw an increase in DE&I education as well as policy changes. These efforts will continue to grow as we continue working post-coronavirus.
- Mental Health: Wellness has been a buzzword for several years – but the pandemic heightened it to a whole new level. The virus took a mental toll on all of us, whether we recognize it yet or not. Joseph Fuller, a professor at Harvard Business School, said that many businesses are getting a “real wake-up call” when it comes to the mental health of their employees. He said that employers were able to see the complexities their staff members had to navigate through and the mental stress and anguish it caused. Because of this, employers are questioning the way they design job roles, communicate with their staff and more.
- Office Space: It’s no secret that coronavirus reshaped what office space looks like to us. Most Americans, especially in our industry, shifted to remotely working when the pandemic hit. For some, this was a fantastic opportunity to have a better work-life balance. For some, it was a nightmare. Coronavirus showed us how differently employees of all ages and demographics work. It showed us that, for some (typically younger employees), an office space can be anywhere their laptop is. While, for others (typically older employees), an office space is in a building, at a desk, behind a desktop computer. For more statistics and other information on this, check out the study by Pew Research Center.
On our blog, we have tons of articles on leadership, marketing and the workplace post-pandemic. We post every week, so be sure to check it out to stay up-to-date on all of the latest trends.