Working in an Office: It’s a Brave New World

Texas is reopening and people are venturing back to workplaces, returning to desks in offices in many cases, back into buildings that you have to drive to, and you have to shower, brush teeth and wear appropriate clothing again. But you’re not going back to the same place.

How businesses are going to shake out of Covid 19 remains to be seen, and how workers and managers adjust is anyone’s guess. But business strategist Cheri Perry says it’s not going to be the same old normal you left behind. “I don’t know I even after Covid 19 has been put to rest and everybody figures out how to deal with that,” she says, “I don’t think we’re going to back to a new normal.”

Many people aren’t ready to go back yet. A CNBC/Change Research poll finds 42% of Americans have spent the past several weeks working from home, and another poll finds 65% saying they think it’s too soon to go back. Companies have found a lot of work can in fact be done from an employee’s home, reducing massive bottom line expenses including square footage for office space, business insurance, and simple things like office supplies and coffee. Do workers want to go back, and does the boss want them back?

Perry says there are new metrics at play that haven’t been considered before. “Maybe reduce the bottom line with things like buildings and extra office space and all those things that cost so much money while still filling the needs of our people,” she suggests. But the most critical element for businesses to consider, she advises, is to remember that their most valuable asset is their people. That reality is going to play out in large and small ways.

60% of workers say they have found they can be more productive working from home, and their boss may like that as well. As Coronavirus transitions from one phase to the next, the business world is being dragged with it, and there is only uncertainty ahead, and the awareness that people need to work, and there is work that needs to be done. As to how, where, when and why – stay tuned.

Businesswoman standing alone in empty office

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