Top 5 Workplace Concepts That Might Go Extinct in the Post-COVID Era

Innovative workplace concepts had been readily adopted to boost their employee productivity. However, the pandemic seems to have derailed businesses plans. Companies have resorted to new workplace concepts to comply with government regulations and to keep their employees safe while still being productive.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we interact with people, work at the office and conduct our business. Most of the changes will stay on for longer periods, perhaps even becoming permanent in the times to come.

Profound changes would be experienced in the professional sphere — the way people do their work, their workplace, meetings and so on. As a result, many existing workplace concepts are on the verge of going extinct in the post-pandemic era.

In the pre-pandemic era, innovative workplace concepts had been readily adopted by many organisations to boost their employee productivity. However, the pandemic seems to have derailed businesses plans. Companies have resorted to new workplace concepts to comply with government regulations and to keep their employees safe while still being productive. Continuing to invest in the older concepts, then, makes no business sense.

So, let us check out the five key workplace concepts that may go extinct in the post-pandemic era.

  1. Open-Plan Offices

It won’t be wrong to divide the 21st century into the pre-pandemic era and the post-pandemic era. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything permanently.

In the pre-pandemic era, modern organisations were actively embracing the open office concept with flexible workstations, wherein employees could choose from different workstations to perform their tasks.

Post the pandemic, with more and more employees opting to work from home and those who do come to the office wanting the management to implement strict social distancing norms, the concept of open offices may soon become extinct in the near future.

Office desk sizes had reduced over the years from the erstwhile 1.8 metres to the current 1.4 metres to accommodate more employees. Now, we may not go back to the 19th-century cubicles for sure, but employees also wouldn’t be open to the idea of shared workstations or those in close proximity as well.

Employers may consider moving back to those merely two-metre desks to create that natural social barrier at work, which becomes a necessity after the pandemic.

  1. Air-Conditioned Offices

Since their invention, air-conditioners, once a luxury, became a necessity. So much so that almost all modern offices boast of centralised air conditioning systems to make working comfortable for their employees and to safeguard their technological instruments.

However, this pandemic will change everything in the future. With cool air and cold temperatures known to be the facilitator of the respiratory virus, people are increasingly and readily happy to forgo the luxury of cool temperatures and may want to adopt something more robust and reliable, like an air filtration system.

Air conditioners can filter the air but are not effective in filtering antigens. Moreover, pollution levels are rising globally, which means that we can expect similar crises originating in the future due to the changes in the air around us. Therefore, such a situation would necessitate the need for large air filtration systems to be installed at homes and offices that filter the polluted air and make it clean and breathable to the inhabitants.

Looking at the current environmental situation, clean air is soon going to become a luxurious necessity which very few would be able to afford.

  1. Formal Handshakes, Hugs and Other Contact Greetings

We are already experiencing the future, where handshakes have already become extinct, and people are finding out newer, more innovative ways to greet each other. From elbow greetings to hand greetings, people are trying all they can to greet the other in the best way possible without shaking hands.

In the eastern part of the globe, many people are adopting the age-old bowing of the head as a way to greet other people.

Here in India, we are more than happy to go back to the world’s oldest and the best form of noncontact greeting — ‘the Namaste’ — our very own gesture, wherein you clasp your hands near the chest and bow to the person in front as a mark of respect and greeting.

Even governments are increasingly advising their people to stay away from contact greetings. The French government has sent out warnings instructing people to not follow the act of kissing people on their cheeks as a greeting. As we are adjusting to a world post the pandemic, it would certainly be nice to see which form of gestures become the new norm of greeting friends and co-workers.

  1. Full-Time Office Workforce

Many major organisations have actively started to offer full-time work from home (WFH) options to their existing employees. This shift is evident from the fact that more employees prefer to work from home rather than run the risk of getting infected unnecessarily during transit.

According to a survey conducted in 2019 by a leading human resource firm, employees are ready to take a 5% cut in their salary, if they are given the option of full-time WFH or remote work. Now that the pandemic has made this wish a reality, we could see this trend as the extinction of the usual full-time office workforce. Also, this option may work out profitable for the organisation as long as it doesn’t affect productivity.

Furthermore, a staggering workforce will become the new standard post the pandemic, wherein employees would be divided into groups, and a small cluster of people would come to the office on alternate shifts or days to avoid the peak crowing during rush hour. In the after-effects of the pandemic, people would prefer to work remotely at safe locations and visit the office only when required or on alternate days depending on the requirements of the company.

  1. Cluttered Offices and Workstations

One thing the pandemic has taught people is to keep things uncluttered. And this trend may continue to office spaces as well. Most offices of small and medium level enterprises are cluttered or filled with unwanted and untidy litter, which can be taken care of.

Companies would need to rethink their open office spaces, as people would no longer want to involve themselves socially at the office. Cubic cabins may make a comeback but with slight modifications, such as glass walls, as people would prefer to maintain the social distance rather than socialise openly.

Employees would no longer prefer flexible workstations and would rather want fixed workstations. This trait would force the companies to replan and rebuild their offices. One option is to provide employees with remote work opportunities at remote locations near to their place of stay. This strategy would ensure that employees have to travel less for work, thereby making them less susceptible to infections.

The world is experiencing a major change and so are businesses. It will take time to adjust to the sudden changes. Organisations are doing a flurry of activities to redesign their office spaces and rethink their business strategies to stay afloat in this post-pandemic era. Therefore, we would experience major changes in workplace concepts. Many concepts that prevailed for so long would go extinct gradually, as companies are shifting their focus towards a more sustainable work environment.

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One of the prime contributors for this blog, Expertise in Staffing and Recruitment, Content Strategist by Profession. A Music Lover & Traveller by Choice.

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