How COVID-19 could Change the Future of Work
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People discussing work.

As COVID-19 affects our daily lives and we all adjust to a new way of working, it is interesting to think of what could this means for how we work in the long term. The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unequivocal shift in the enterprise making the majority (88%) of organizations now either require or encourage their employees to work from home, according to the Gartner HR survey published on March 19.

Shawn Dickerson, senior vice president of marketing at Keyedin said, "COVID-19 has effectively become a tipping point for remote workers." People who normally work outside the office like those in the tech industry are already familiar with the tools and techniques, but this pandemic has forced workers from industries to adopt these tools and techniques which Dickerson believed has changed the dynamic of work forever.

Here are 5 ways the future of work is changing because of the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Permanently Flexible Future

According to Ben Rogers, President of platform and technology clients at the National Research Group (NRG), at this stage, remote working will be viewed with entirely new importance post-COVID-19. There will be significant, and permanent transition to a more remote working even after the COVID-19 clears, in fear of the next pandemic. More investments will be made to platforms and technology to maximize efficiency in this new standard.

Of course, not all companies will remain in a completely remote state, but most of them will now be more flexible. Chris Kozup, CMO at Aruba said that organizations now will be more flexible in supporting a broader range of work situations and environments for their employees. Organizations will be less strict in requiring their employees to go to the office, and will now allow the work-from-home setup when the need arises.

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Especially with younger generations, the rigidity of an office-only based environment will not be ideal anymore, according to Rogers.

2. Prioritization of work-life balance

Although it is convenient and comfortable when working from home, it can be a challenge for professionals to draw a line between home and work life.

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In a recent article, working from home may harm your mental health.  The pressure of balancing your home duties and work is difficult especially when you don't know when to turn your "work mode" off.

3. Movement Toward Agile Work

With remote work, teams become more separated and many will begin collaborating with other employees, according to Rogers.  Another trend in the world of agile work is growing beyond software development into finance, marketing, operations and other parts of the organization with the concept of self-organizing teams, Dickerson added.

4. Increased expectations from employees

Different generations appreciate different facets of a work-from-home lifestyle and will want those things in choosing for future employment.

According to Rogers, generation X and Generation Z handles remote work differently. Generation X has more life and professional experience that millennials and generation Z individuals can learn from-which imminently become hygiene factors such as flexibility, remote working, etc. in choosing an employer.

5. Trend toward sustainability

Peter Jackson, CEO of Bluescape mentioned in a statement that remote work takes mental and physical stress out of going to an office but it also positively affects the environment.

Take for example an average employee commuting to work for 26.1 minutes or approximately four and a half hours per week using their cars. Reducing the commute by reducing people down by one day will also reduce 16% of our carbon footprint, Jackson said.

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Additionally, there will also be a 20% reduction in energy consumption by reducing the in-office work week down to four days and so on for the next week, that is why we're breathing a clearer air right now than before.

Preparing for these changes

To ensure business continuity, employers should have a solid networking infrastructure in place to enable their employees to stay connected and still be productive while working remotely. This means that employees should have tools, equipment, and systems for them to access resources, just like when they were working in the office, Kozup said.