We’ve discussed the effects of COVID-19 at length, and while we will resume our usual content in the coming weeks, but for the time being, it’s top of mind for most people in the world, and it’s certainly top of mind for me. While we’ve discussed flattening the curve and the necessity for good cyber security during remote work, one aspect of this pandemic that hasn’t been discussed is the probable permanence of the changes that COVID-19 has brought about.
Consider the world of business before the outbreak of coronavirus. Despite the advances in digital technology, some old-fashioned practices remained, delaying an inevitable digital transformation. Think about it: how often did you have to fill out paperwork? If you needed official documentation, a paper copy was almost always necessary. Now, the idea around what constitutes “official” copies may be forced to change. If we’re expected to remain socially distant, then we can’t very well present physical copies. Digital copies of documents will have to be given greater consideration in the weeks and months to come, as there is a risk of infection with every physical interaction.
Another aspect of the work experience that will change is likely the proliferation of remote work. Hopefully we reach a point where physical presence at work is possible again, but even then, the long time we’ve spent remote may end up becoming the rule rather than the exception. Many companies have learned that employees can capably perform their jobs from home, and employees may find that they desire this work environment. If this becomes a mass ideation, we may see a permanent creation of remote work jobs.
Lastly, and perhaps most optimistically, I think a change as a result of this pandemic will be more compassionate relationships between co-workers. This pandemic has taught me that we need to look out for each other, and that we need to make sure that everyone is able to pull through hardships. When we are all allowed to go back out into the world, my hope is that we will return to a more empathetic workplace. Despite the terrible circumstances of this pandemic, perhaps some benefit can be gained in the form of better relationships with our fellow workers.
COVID-19 will hopefully not be permanent, but the changes it’s given us very well could be. We will be forced to adapt to meet this challenge, and a digital transformation may be necessary. That digital transformation doesn’t have to be negative though. By employing compassion and understanding at the end of this time of trial, perhaps we can change our workplaces for the better.