Returning to work: New beginnings in a post-COVID-19 workplace
Published May 27, 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic shutdown that followed has transformed the way organizations across the country conduct business. Public health measures implemented by federal and provincial governments forced many businesses to adjust their operations at breakneck speed and shut their doors or shift their work online. One year later, the future is still uncertain. As we prepare to return to the office, there’s one thing we know for sure: work will never be the same.
In this blog post, we share four ways workers can prepare themselves to return to the office post-pandemic.
Prioritizing mental health in the new world of work
Over the last year, many people have experienced fear, anxiety and stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A whopping 38% of Canadians say they have experienced feelings of loneliness or isolation, according to Stats Canada. Some businesses have stepped up support for staff members experiencing mental health issues by allowing flexible work schedules, increasing access to personal days and sick days and encouraging emotional self-care. These new protocols are likely to stick around post-pandemic, as employers have come to understand the benefits of a healthy – and consequently, more engaged – workforce. So, expect flexible work arrangements to continue as you and your coworkers take time for your mental health.
Staying safe in the workplace
Now that we’ve all become accustomed to regularly cleaning surfaces and sanitizing our hands, social distancing and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), it’s unlikely these health and safety will stop. Be prepared to have a number of health and safety protocols still in place after the pandemic, especially if you work in the healthcare sector.
Upskilling for the new normal
Many employees have had to learn new skills – or brush up on old ones – as a result of taking on new roles during the pandemic. From in-demand technical skills to transferable soft skills like communication, problem-solving, emotional intelligence and creativity, employees are gaining the skills necessary to succeed in their jobs. As a result, over 60% of Canadian employees report being more productive and confident in their organization’s leadership. As we get back to business, it’s important to be open to new opportunities and take advantage of professional development resources offered to you.
Rethinking remote work
After a year of remote work, many people are wondering whether they should expect to return to the office. While media reports indicate that remote work is here to stay, business owners aren’t so sure. They’re rethinking what it means to share office space by assessing what has worked with remote or onsite set ups – and what has not. The jury’s still out on whether productivity has increased, decreased or stayed the same since remote work became the norm, but one thing is clear: many employees want the option to choose between their homes and the office, as needed. So, it’s likely we’ll continue to see a mix of both.
No one is certain what the world will be like when the pandemic is over. But employees should brace themselves for a work culture that gives them the freedom, flexibility and support to feel good about themselves and their work. They key is to be open and prepared to face the new realities of our post-pandemic world.