The COVID-19 Crisis and Its Impact on the Workplace

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted global workers and workplaces. The economic shutdowns implemented by governments to curb the virus’ spread resulted in various unique and significant challenges for both the employers and their workers. The employees were forced to work remotely, and others furloughed while only those deemed critical to the economy remained operational from their physical workplaces.

On the other hand, employers had to adapt to the latest trends in business operations to cope with the government initiated shutdowns. There has been a breakthrough in medical research for the virus’ vaccine, and soon, more workers will go back to work. However, the world has changed and adapted due to the pandemic. Thus, various issues, some of which are discussed below, are likely to develop in the workplace.

The “working from home” protocols implemented by organizations have exposed the reality of employees’ domestic lives. In video calls from people’s homes, managers have witnessed first-hand the dual lives of their employees. Whether it is children interrupting calls, the untidy bed or dirty dishes in the background, it became clear that balancing family and work is stressful. Managers are likely to learn from these situations and increase flexible working patterns in the future (Wenham et al., 2020). Flexibility at the workplace can thus involve work expectations, working hours and contract terms.

Due to the pandemic, organizations will encourage greater use of digital technology in service delivery. The vast majority of organizations recognize that it is unnecessary for most of their employees to be physically present at their workplaces. With the availability of fast and stable internet, workers will accomplish most tasks remotely without decreasing productivity or quality. However, this approach also poses a challenge as a large portion of the workforce in transportation, retail, and food service cannot work virtually. As such, the government needs to invest more in education and training to enable such vulnerable workers to further their skills.

Casual attire is likely to replace business attire as employees become comfortable working from home. Before COVID-19, employees dressed up for work in suits and heels. All these changed when employers embraced working from home due to lockdowns. As more organizations transition to working remotely, workers are quickly embracing casual wear such as sweats. Already, some organizations had adopted policies that encouraged their workers to dress in their preferred attire when not meeting with clients. Therefore, more employers are likely to join this trend to make their workers comfortable.

Learning is fundamental, and many employers recognize that improving the skills of their workforce is vital to innovation and strategic edge over their competition. Before the pandemic, the learning programs in the corporate world entailed physical seminars and workshops. At the present moment, with restrictions on movement, companies have employed e-learning to ensure their employees still build crucial skills. E-learning is expected to be greatly incorporated into the learning even after the pandemic. Thus, physical learning will only be a small element of the learning program, reserved for particular functions and persons within the organization.

The pandemic has revealed that people have always taken for granted the value of their coworkers. During the pandemic, they have realized their importance as they cannot interact with them daily. As such, when employees can return to their workplaces, they will be closer with their colleagues and, in the process, strengthen their bonds. More workplace friendships are likely to develop among coworkers who depended on one another in the pandemic and even became acquainted on a personal level. Office calls among coworkers are also expected to be ditched in favour of in-person interactions.

While focused work is done virtually, the office buildings could serve as conference centres as their primary purpose. Workers would only gather in such facilities for meetings and other general organizational events. Most companies will probably be sticking to some of the safety practices that have been adopted since the beginning of the pandemic. It would, as a result, be expected for cleaning stations to be equipped with handwashing soaps, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers to ensure hygiene even after the pandemic. In spaces occupied by many employees, automated features such as voice-sensitive elevator banks, automatic door, soap dispensers and sinks are likely to be adopted.

As employees continue working from home, employers might start paying them stipends for their home offices. These stipends will aid in effective virtual work and, in turn, improve employees’ productivity. Such a program will save the companies lots of money and resources that could have been used to run office facilities. It will also buy the employees’ loyalty as the action demonstrates that the employer cares about their home situation and their happiness and productivity.

Ethical issues like harassment and discrimination are common in the office set up, and the results are often catastrophic for the organization. However, when employees work remotely, such issues are doubtful to occur. With no in-person interactions among workers, the organization and potentially sexual harassment and discrimination victims are considerably safe. Therefore, the organization secures its reputation and saves money by avoiding any lawsuits that might arise due to incidences of sexual harassment and discrimination.


Wenham, C., Smith, J., & Rosemary, M. (2020). Covid-19 is an opportunity for gender equality within the workplace and at home. The British Medical Journal, 369(1546), 1-2. Web.

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