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5 Prominent Impacts of the Pandemic on Employees and Workplaces

5 Prominent Impacts of the Pandemic on Employees and Workplaces


The effect of CoVID-19 has been felt by one and all. The level of impact may vary, but the bottom line is that it has transformed the entire approach to the usual workplace protocols and systems. This has forced organizations to reshape their working strategies to create a whole new workplace system.

The major lockdowns and travel restrictions that have affected businesses subsequently leading to layoffs have varying impacts on employees. The new normal of working-from-home comes with its own challenges for the employers as well as the employees. Hence, though the businesses may resume their operations, the normality of the pre-pandemic workplace protocols may be difficult to achieve. Hence, we have summarized the most prominent long-term effects of CoVID-19 on employees and their work here:

Standardization of Remote Work Culture

Everyone will agree that the most prominent change for employees across the globe during this pandemic has been shifting to a work-from-home arrangement. It has its pros and cons, and not all employees are happy about this switch. But this trend is here to stay, as the working population is gradually familiarizing themselves with the system and have more or less settled comfortably into the routine. As per a survey, 57% of employees would like to increase their level of remote work in the future. This implies that their approach and consequently decisions regarding future roles and expectations from a job will be aligned in the same direction. Hence, these times call for every organization to become more flexible and design a working system to support and sustain a virtual workforce. The focus should be on developing and using remote management tools that encourage productivity without compromising on efficiency.

Access to Work-from-home Infrastructure

When the professional world was driven to switch to a work-from-home setup, the immediate concern was commonly found to be a lack of adequate infrastructure for an efficient workable environment from home. This includes a comfortable desk and chair, strong and consistent internet connectivity, meeting setup, and quite a few other aspects that come with the territory. These concerns may sound very insignificant, but majorly impacts the psyche and productivity of an employee. Hence, corporations and even medium-sized organizations are prepared to make provisions for the installation of an efficient work-from-home space and infrastructure as part of their deal. One of the best examples here is how Shopify workers were given a $1,000 stipend to purchase necessary supplies for their home office spaces. Such initiatives serve to not just provide a solution to employee concerns but also display the level of commitment on the employer’s end to ensure that their people are sufficiently provided for and that they are valuable to the organization. It goes without saying, how such strategies and gestures improve the bottom line of a company.

Also, note that these home-office provisions will become an integral part of offer letters down the years and will benefit people on either side of the table in the long run. Succinctly put, work-from-home initiatives are more economical as it cuts commuting costs, real estate costs, reduces turnovers and absenteeism, etc. that can up an organizations’ profit margin. Recent research suggests that a typical employer can save an average of $11,000 per half-time telecommuter per year.

Virtual Meeting Options

Many will agree that on-site meetings quite often, hamper the flow of work of employees and reduce productivity. With the remote working situation, the frequency of meetings has considerably diminished. Only in the event of an important agenda or issue that needs discussion and collaboration, are meetings conducted. The most used channels of online interactions have become Emails, IM (Instant Messaging), video meetings on various platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, etc. Businesses unaccustomed to technological channels of interaction are now, growingly adapting to virtual workforce management and meetings. It has also driven home the idea of doing without business travels for reasons virtually solvable like meetings and updates from any part of the world. Also, interviews are now conducted online, as a study reveals that 86% of organizations are incorporating new virtual technology to interview candidates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, it is safe to say that this trend is here to stay.

Digitalization and its Consequences

There has always been an underlying fear about robots replacing humans at work in the past few years. The pandemic has aggravated these fears. Corporate work cultures have definitely experienced a drastic shift in the form of virtual workplace setup. But, the deeper impact has been felt by the manufacturing and logistics sector that can rely on virtual systems only up to a certain level. Today, even those sectors have adapted to the situation by further inventing advanced algorithms and automating their inventory, logistics, and other procurement and delivery systems that include minimal human interaction. This has a direct impact on the job prospects of existing employees and future employees in such sectors. As per the BBC News Report, 6.5% of all workers, could be unemployed by the end of 2020.

A Rise in Mental Health Concerns

An obvious progression of the said impacts on employees is the rising trend in mental health issues that go largely unnoticed amidst the greater concerns of sustaining the ill effects of the pandemic and surviving the phase by businesses. However, the increasing health concerns are gradually coming to light and organizations are trying their best to grapple with such issues at the grass-root level. The lockdowns, the consequent isolation, growing fear of loss of job, incompetence in terms of the latest digitalization initiatives in the organization, and similar other factors hugely affect an employees’ mental health that deteriorates their daily performance. It has become evident, that no matter what concessions and initiatives an employer takes to improve productivity, the efforts should start with addressing the mental health concerns of their employees. Such efforts coupled with the other initiatives can guarantee better productivity.

Closing Thoughts

Organizations must direct their efforts at neutralizing the adverse impact of CoVID-19 related concerns on employees to ensure consistent productivity. The following are just a few tips on what can be done:

  • Address Employee Concerns on a more personal level.
  • Create an effective communication internal forum open to all employees and all categories on concerns.
  • Review company policies to better suit the changing situations. It must be crafted around the betterment of employees and overall productivity.
  • Design skill training to accommodate your employees with the latest technologies and digitalization initiatives.

These are just a few tips based on the ongoing pandemic situation. But the stress must be on evolving the nature of your efforts with the changing scenario. As everybody is new to this and are managing the situation in their own ways. Hence, organizations must be agile and dynamic to provide a favorable working experience to their employees.