Coronavirus has had a massive impact on all of us this year whether that be financially or personally or both. With the changes and regulations introduced earlier in the year in terms of working in lockdown and in this uncertain time, there has been new challenges every day, and the way we work has definitely changed.
Arguably, the way we work has changed for the foreseeable future.
This means adapting to a new working normal which is something that may take some getting used to. Here we are going to explain the ways in which Coronavirus has changed the way we work, how we have had to adapt to working in lockdown over the past few months and how we can make these changes seem less daunting.
Working from Home
The most obvious way in which Coronavirus has changed the way we work is that we have taken work to home where possible, in particular when we were working in lockdown.
This introduced it’s own challenges as there were certain situations where it is was difficult as those who are accustomed to an office environment had to set up at home whether that be in a home office, on a dining room table or even on the sofa.
There were also the distractions of home including pets, children and partners working from home too.
Working from home was, of course, necessary to prevent the spread of the virus as offices in general can be compact but also travelling to and from work on public transport became a dangerous activity. Even though working from home was and still is necessary, for many it is completely foreign to what they are used to.
Communication between colleagues and employers has never been more important, even if it is virtual.
With the introduction of home working, it has been the employer’s duty to ensure that their employees can work from home safely, with the correct equipment and can be in regular contact with other employees where needed.
Moving forward, the need for remote working may still be necessary as cases increase again. It also has been reported that 91% of the UK’s office workers would like to work from home at least part time (Eskenzi 2020), meaning that even when we are able to work from the office again, working from home may be a new normal.
This could be because we have adjusted to working at home, or because we think it is safer to do so.
Overall, Coronavirus has changed the way we work as it has introduced us to flexibility. This means that employers will need to think about being flexible in terms of allowing people to work from home or in the office and employees will need to be prepared to work in different environments.
Perhaps a less dramatic change that goes along with working from home is our new business attire.
Adjusting to feeling productive while at home can be tricky, a lot of this has to do with how we dress and therefore how we feel about working.
Typical workwear has changed since we have all been working from home. Swapping out heels or leather shoes for slippers seems like the natural way to work as working from home means working more comfortably.
This is not us saying that wearing pyjamas all day every day is what is expected, however, when you are at home there is a level of comfort that does not go with being in an office.
It is safe to say that in terms of workwear while working during a pandemic, anything you can see while on a video call does need to remain professional, but off camera there can be the temptation to dress comfortably. We have all heard embarrassing stories where someone on a call has needed to get up to reveal their sweatpants or something even worse! There are ways to remain comfy while working from home but still feel and look professional, such as wearing your slippers on your feet but workwear everywhere else.
Training, Learning and Networking Online
As we are unable to meet in person, all the usual events that professionals would be attending have been conducted online where possible.
In-person workshops, seminars and training sessions are usually a good way to learn more about your industry and is a part of your professional development.
Instead of cancelling all events, adapting to being online has been an important part of trying to keep a ‘business as usual’ mindset.
Along with this, of course, has come the ability to learn how to use online programmes and video chatting softwares which for some has taken time and is a big deal. Therefore, there also has been a need to train people on how to work from home, especially earlier in the year when we were working in lockdown.
This is a whole new universe to some who may not be particularly computer literate.
This means that Coronavirus has changed the way we work as working in lockdown has meant that we have become more knowledgeable in IT than ever before. A lot of this knowledge is basic, however, it has become crucial to know how your office system works as you can no longer pop over to IT and have them fix a problem.
In some industries, networking is essential to gaining clients and growing a business.
Adjusting to networking online has been another way in which Coronavirus has changed the way we work.
In some ways, networking online has been a blessing as there is no travel involved and they take the pressure away that comes with introducing yourself to new people in a face-to-face scenario. There are also different events that suit different industries and different purposes.
For example, you can attend a virtual networking event, a Q&A, or live-chat.
Networking online also introduces the ease of following up as you can message those who attend the event and ask for their details instead of a potentially awkward situation where you need someone to find themselves on your mobile on LinkedIn.
Coronavirus has changed the way we work in that there is an added cyber-security risk when it comes to using devices from work. This is because your office will usually have a secure way to protect the company’s (and your) information.
Without this protection, you are more at risk to cyber-attacks.
In April this year, it was reported by Google that they blocked 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to Coronavirus. This is because scammers would insert dangerous links in emails that would be sent to people working in lockdown at home who may not have protection on their devices.
Because of this cyber-security risk, employers have had to take more care in ensuring that their employees and the company data is safe from potential hackers and scammers online.
This means that many businesses have added multifactor authentication to allow access to secure systems and have had to install anti-virus and anti-malware on their employees’ devices to keep safe.
Extra cyber-security training has also become more standard practise for businesses as Coronavirus has allowed dangerous people to use it to their advantage and target those who may be unaware of the activities that could cause damage to the company.
Making Changes Seem Less Daunting
To alleviate the stress of working from home potentially on a more permanent basis, as well as working in lockdown, there are certain ways that we can help ourselves and each other.
Making sure that you are in contact with the people that you usually would be each day is a good way to feel less alone as you can discuss what you normally would in terms of work, all while being at home.
Attending any training that your workplace offers will also be a good way to gain confidence in any programmes or software that you are not entirely happy with. Doing this will make your days working at home feel less stressful and means that you can attempt to fix problems yourself without wasting time trying to find someone who can.
You can also set objectives for yourself to get certain tasks done by a certain time in the day, to make sure that you actually take care of yourself by having a proper lunch, or even by making sure that you take enough breaks from your desk.
There is no doubt that Coronavirus has changed the way we work. These changes are important to be aware of so that you can get used to being productive while working at home.
You may also have learnt about something that you were not aware of, for example, the importance of cyber-security training or that you can register for networking events online.
Learning about the changes that have occurred due to a large percentage of the nation working from home means you can stay on top of things in terms of work and hopefully has helped you to feel less overwhelmed if we need to stay put again.