The PLACEmaking blog

Predictions for the workplace after Covid-19

Author

Alison White

Date

March 31, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has radically changed the basic concept of ‘going to work’. Will we learn from our changed behaviours during lockdown, or allow ourselves to wander back towards the old ‘normal’? 

1. What will our reshaped communities, towns and cities look like?

Working from home and staying local will drive development and investment in local high streets whilst reinvigorating communities – but only if we facilitate this change. Creative leadership is needed, rebalancing the magnetic draw of super cities – yearning for the outdated past is just a waste of time.

2. Why do we need to up-end outdated rental tenures?

It’s time for developers and landlords to wake up. Few businesses want large open plan, glass, steel and concrete ‘offices’ anymore and it is time for a radical rethink of rental tenures and how non-corporate, shared quirky places within communities can respond better to our changed values.

3. How do we repurpose the services that allow us to ‘go to work’, such as transport and childcare? 

85% of us want hybrid working post-Covid 19, so the Victorian infrastructure that supports 9-5 Monday to Friday ‘in person’ working must be repurposed, requiring radical change to institutional solutions and the low-paid caring of our most vulnerable.

4. What impact will there be on the ‘home’?

Distributing employer’s ‘office’ furniture to homes during lockdown was purely a stop gap. Creating a new hybrid way of working isn’t just about replicating the existing office environment and bring its culture into the home. It’s time to focus on well-being – and not just minimal legislative compliance.

5. How do organisations find new ways to ‘manage’ themselves?

Manager feedback during lockdown has highlighted how their own methods and approaches have changed over the last 12 months. Hosting, nurturing, caring and supporting their teams have become the new norm and broader changes of management culture will result. How many organisations are preparing for this change?

6. What is the impact on employment law?

The traditional office workplace operates within a framework of HR policy, employment law, rights and legislation. New patterns of hybrid working will challenge old assumptions and patterns of behaviour. Will we allow legislation to dictate how we will work remotely and from our homes?

7. What does it mean to “go to work”: what is having a job, how will we navigate a ‘career’ and what even is a career?

‘Going to work’ used to convey a message of industrious activity but working from home changes the narrative of what having a job means. New definitions of what a job and a career is and how to navigate it all is needed. Are we facilitating this transformation or leaving it to all to luck?

8. How do we repurpose education for the next generation?

Covid-19 has changed so much and the opportunity for a step change now exists to prepare the next generation for work and their work/life experience. Are we seizing this unique moment to educate and prepare us all for this new world of work, or just ploughing on as before?

9. What is the impact of Covid-19 on the world of construction?

The replacement of daily commuting in and out of city business districts with remote working is sending shock waves through the construction, transport and services sectors. Are we recognising that change has already happened or are we going to be bullied back in to the office?

10. Whats the new meaning of life: what is a work/life balance, how is our identity and value linked to our job and how do we transition to a new code of behaviour

What is the meaning of post-Covid-19 work life? The ‘genie’ of a better work-life balance is now out of the bottle, but with pressure mounting from some to ‘get back to normal’ how do we nurture our discovered new freedoms and behaviours and build upon our shared experiences?

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