For the last few months, WFH has been our reality. And as offices start reopening, there’s an obvious question: what changes should we expect? Of course, in the short-term, we’ll all be socially distanced, avoid large conference rooms, and have greater supplies of sanitizer. But in the long-term, how will the office environment evolve to be safer? What have we learned from COVID-19? And how can we prepare our workplace against a potential resurgence?
As we pivot to the post-COVID-19 business world, we’ll need to focus on staying healthy and productive. This shift requires rethinking the tech we use and the spaces in which we use it. And through these changes, our workspaces will be better prepared for future emergencies, as well as day-to-day activities.
Here are 4 ways in which COVID-19 will change the future of the workplace:
Increase in Touchless Collaboration Technology
Although experts disagree about the virus’s longevity, it’s an unfortunate fact that COVID-19 can live on surface spaces. And if you touch something that someone sick touched, you might become sick yourself. Certainly you can—and should—clean these surfaces, but avoiding them when possible is even safer. For this reason, touchless collaboration technology will become a norm, thus decreasing our risk of spreading the virus (or being held liable for its spread).
Friendlier Take on BYOD
Just like with touchless collaboration technology, BYOD decreases your chances of coming into contact with COVID-19 via a surface space. If you bring your own technology, you’ll be the only one handling it. And while BYOD devices come with their own risks, there are ways for a company to mitigate them. Through clear BYOD policies and training, you’ll decrease your risk for both computer and human viruses.
Additional Huddle Rooms
We’ve already said that huddle rooms are the future of collaboration. The benefits they bring a company are numerous, and post-COVID-19, those benefits will only increase. Huddle rooms are smaller than conference rooms, which means they can’t fit larger groups. Instead, they encourage more intimate collaboration, as well as safer distancing practices. And because health experts are discouraging large gatherings, huddle rooms will be a cost-effective way to keep meeting in-person without increased risk. On the other hand, some companies might opt to do away with in-person meetings entirely. And for those companies, there’s another solution.
More Video Collaboration… Even In-Office
While working remotely, we’ve all been using video collaboration devices. And when we return to the office, these devices will stay in use. It might sound strange to call up a coworker from your desk, but there are several reasons why this might become the new norm. For one, some businesses will start returning to work through a staggered rollout. This means that different employees will come into the office on different days. If you need to communicate with a coworker who comes in on a different day, the usefulness of video collaboration tools is obvious. But even if your coworker comes into the office on the same day as you, you might still be encouraged to use your web conferencing devices. After all, video is slowly becoming a central component of the workplace. And since we’ve all been using remote tools recently, it’s hard to deny that they’re simply more effective for certain discussions.
The future of the workplace will forever be changed by COVID-19. But that’s not a bad thing. Already, we were seeing a shift toward touchless collaboration tools, BYOD policies, huddle rooms, and video collaboration; now, that shift will simply be larger. And through that shift, we’ll all be better protected from COVID-19 and better prepared for whatever comes next. We may not be able to stop a resurgence, but we can do our best to defend against it.