Remember that time you asked your boss to work from home and they said, no. Maybe they provided some random excuse, ahem I mean reason, such as it wasn’t part of the culture or your role didn’t allow for remote access, or that was only allowed for senior staff.
Well now, if you are still employed and have an office job, you are most likely working from home. Booya!
Aside from the First World complaints I’ve read on my Facebook feed regarding work-life from home – the birds are singing too loud, the construction workers are too loud, the landscapers are too loud – most people are handling working from home (sans pants) pretty well all things considered.
In no way am I saying it’s been easy. If social distancing weren’t a thing, people would probably be enjoying working from home even more than they are right now. (Us pet owners know the doggos and cats are pretty excited.)
If you have taken the time to reflect during this time as I have, and which I highly recommend, you have probably considered this question: What do I want my future work-life to look like after the pandemic?
Just as some people are realizing they are ready for a divorce after spending time cooped up with their partner, who they now realize is not who they thought they were. I’m guessing many employees are considering if they want to continue their relationship with their employers and what is next. Now is the time to ask: If I could do anything and nothing was stopping me, what would I do? YOLO, right?
These types of questions can be challenging to consider when it feels like the world is imploding. Without checking yourself and your head, it’s super easy to feel fearful and worried. That’s completely normal. But, remember this: Everyone, almost everyone, is facing this new and unknown normal. Some folks have more resources at their disposal, sure. But, let’s consider all things being equal, we are all living in uncertainty. We were living in uncertainty before the pandemic and we will be after. So, now is as good a time as any to say, “If not now, when? If not me, who?”
While we consider what the world may look like and whether we decide to skip town, move to an island and start learning to surf, there are some predictions about what work might look like.
Over at Forbes, contributor Tracy Brower made some predictions about what the future of work could look like.
Companies will provide more support to employees.
Companies have had to take a holistic look at providing support for employees’ body, mind, and spirit. Also, they realize an engaged worker is a happier more productive employee. There will be more support for mental health. Isolation breeds mental health issues and it’s fair to say that employers who may have ignored mental health in the past will be more receptive to employees’ needs.
Leadership will improve. The poor, crappy leaders will be weeded out and those who are able to step up – and who maybe weren’t in top positions – will rise to the occasion.
Company Culture will become a real thing. No more filing TPS reports on the weekend Peter. Brower says it’s likely company culture will become important, as leaders realize its critical to engagement and employee performance and engagement.
Working well with others is likely to improve. Going through a crisis as a team is sure to build stronger bonds. There will be more understanding and acceptance of the challenges employees’ have managing work-life balance, especially now that everyone has had to work from home under strange conditions. And, inclusivity and diversity will be more welcome in the workplace.
Technology and the workplace will be better. Employees will have a better understanding of technology (we will never forget poor Jennifer) and it will make work-life easier now. Bosses should also treat their staff better. Things like office cleaning and comfort will be more important. I mean, after working from your couch that broken-down office chair that’s been around since 2004 isn’t going to cut it.
Corporate approaches will improve. Bureaucracy will go by the wayside, innovation will expand, and businesses will become more flexible.
Employees get a do-over. Unemployment is high. “During these times, companies have had to reassess critical jobs, expand definitions of responsibilities and explore new boundaries for key tasks. With such fundamental shifting of jobs and the way they’re designed, career opportunities will abound,” Brower says. And, every business will be a “start-up” because they will all be starting over in a new environment and wanting to re-establish themselves. It will also be a time of opportunity for new businesses and there will likely be an influx of new business and new ideas.
Interested in how life might change post-pandemic? Politico compiled 34 big thinkers’ predictions on the future of our world.
Regardless of what the thinkers think and the predictors predict, we can safely say life and work-life will be different. How that looks is TBD. As we move through this time, maybe a dose of Ferris Bueller could help us all.