The Post-Corona Workplace: What Will Be the New Normal?
The Coronavirus has changed the world of business in many ways. One of the most significant being the fact that many people who were working in a traditional office environment have had to get used to working from home for the first time.
Companies have had to pivot business operations and consider how best to restructure employee workloads and communicate with customers. As the virus begins to decline, and restrictions begin to lift, businesses and workers need to consider how the post-Corona workplace will operate.
Even after we return to work, it seems as though social distancing rules may be in place for quite a while longer. Some companies may have even benefited from their employees working-from-home, choosing to continue this business model.
The post-COVID office
The Covid-19 virus has uniquely affected each individual differently. Some people have adopted basic social distancing and modified hygiene practices, others, however, have felt more vulnerable and at-risk. They have taken more extensive measures by protecting themselves with face masks, gloves and other methods.
So how will our workplaces adapt to these new work environments while still achieving staff cohesion and productivity?
Will this create a divide within the traditional office social environment between those who prefer coming into the office to interact, and those who no longer feel as safe or productive in the previous company format?
The new white-collar worker
There are some robust international studies whose findings imply companies that have implemented work-from-home models have seen impressive increases in productivity. One study found that remote employees worked 1.4 extra days per week than their office-based counterparts, equating to over three additional weeks of work per year.
Other companies have reported not only an increase in productivity but a dramatic reduction in overheads like:
- Power consumption
- Water and gas costs
- Paper waste and office supplies
- Cleaning and maintenance costs
These savings amount to a massive retention of company profits over the financial year.
However, this is not for everyone, and some employees feel anxious about the lack of available managerial support, decrease in social interaction and the extra pressure of managing self-performance.
On top of this, there is the added immediate and ongoing costs of providing their own home office furniture and supplies if a company chooses to continue a work-from-home model.
Who is responsible?
Many Australian workers fortunate enough to have retained their jobs by being able to work remotely have adopted home offices under the assumption they will be returning to their regular place of business in the not too distant future.
Currently, many home offices have been set up on breakfast benches, dining tables and home computer desks. If this becomes the new structure, many workers will have to consider making space and buying new office furniture to set up a more robust and comprehensive workspace.
Australian companies collectively spend millions of dollars per year on ergonomic office furniture and equipment in an aim to protect their workers from repetitive strain injuries and negate the severe and costly health risks that have been linked to remaining stationary for long periods.
However, the new home office environment may shift that responsibility onto the individual. So how will governing bodies then decide on whom the responsibility falls? Will companies be required to provide this equipment to their employees, or will people have to fork out for their office supplies and find relief at tax time?
What if employees then choose to ignore the risks of non-ergonomic office furniture? What impacts will this have on future Australian health care and work cover models as more individuals work independently from their homes?
It is evident that no matter the outcome, we are moving through new territory in the Australian workforce to which there is no current map. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the employment landscape quickly and swiftly, leaving many workers world-wide with an uncertain and unplannable future.
Your new home office
If you find yourself faced with the prospect of working from home in the post-COVID world, the ergonomic specialists here at Chair Dinkum can highly recommend our range of products to offer some much-needed support.
We supply a wide range of Australian and European made ergonomic chairs, and stock a variety of other products that can help optimise your home office for a range of immediate and long-term health benefits.
Don't risk a future of back pain and other adverse health issues due to poorly designed office furniture. Contact our expert team today for advice on how to best set up your home office, and what products we can provide for your future ergonomic workspace.