The coronavirus outbreak has served as a wake-up call. Even after the last of the patients have recovered, the COVID-19 crisis will leave significant soul-searching in its wake. For employers and workers alike, a key question will relate to remote jobs. What permanent mark will the coronavirus make on corporate structures and workflows?
The spread of COVID-19 has brought many serious questions to the forefront. It has underlined concerns about medical preparedness (and toilet paper preparedness). The crisis has also challenged the way we do business, illustrating the advantage of work-from-home options.
Once the medical emergency fades, and the economy returns to normal, firms will need to review their policies. Looking ahead to the next potential disaster, they will need to design procedures to better respond to any similar situations that might happen in the future.
Here are a few general concepts workers and employers should both keep in mind as they consider the future of remote jobs and how to respond to potential outbreaks:
The coronavirus forced people to change their routines quickly. Individuals and businesses that remained light on their feet fared better than those who couldn’t react to a quickly evolving situation. The outbreak underlined a cardinal truth: he more flexibility you show, the better able you are to respond to a crisis.
Having flexible work structures provides essential benefits in a crisis. Fortunately, the U.S. has already gone a long way down this road. The 2019 IWG Global Workspace Survey showed that more than two-thirds of U.S. firms (69%) have a flexible workspace policy. This significantly outpaces many other countries, such as Japan (32%) or China (51%).
However, U.S. companies could still take additional steps toward flexibility. The same survey showed that 80% of German firms and 75% of companies in the Netherlands have a flexible policy. This proves that more growth can happen.
Preparing for the Worst
Most of the accommodations that occurred in response to the COVID-19 outbreak happened in an ad-hoc manner. Companies had to improvise policies, as authorities required most employees to stay home. Now we have this outbreak as a model, we can all prepare better for the future, making more definitive policies in case a similar crisis strikes again.
Along these lines, expect companies to create detailed disaster plans. The way firms now have policies in place for fires, or even for live shooters, they will begin to produce action plans in the case of another outbreak. Going forward, it will be imperative to have an “in case of emergency” system in place, in case a sudden quarantine happens again.
In-Person Jobs Aren’t Going Away
The physiological toll of the COVID-19 outbreak will last into the foreseeable future. That said, the economy will eventually get back to normal. Companies will instill disaster protocols, and firms will look for ways to add flexibility. But, for the most part, work life will eventually drift back to the pre-coronavirus situation.
One of the key lessons from the COVID response: many industries can’t rely on remote jobs. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor showed that only 29% of workers could work from home. That figure suggests that more than 100 million U.S. workers hold jobs that currently don’t include the possibility of working from home.
Restaurants, stores, factories, service professions, delivery firms – large parts of the economy require in-person workers to run smoothly. Even with the massive advances in communication and technology over the last few decades, many companies still need workers who show up at their facilities each day.
The COVID-19 outbreak will have a profound effect on the economy, both now and for the foreseeable future. Understanding these new realities will be key to achieving success. By partnering with a strong staffing firm, like TriStarr, you’ll get the expert advice you need to prepare for whatever the future holds.
Contact TriStarr today to learn more.