How COVID-19 Changed the Way we Work

Colleagues in an office

It feels like new year’s eve was just yesterday and yet in a matter of months, no one expected this plot twist that turned the world upside down. Over the last few weeks alone, we have seen unprecedented changes in everyone’s lives. Common errands such as going to work or school, or meeting friends, which have never been considered a threat, are now considered detrimental decisions in health and safety.

The COVID-19 created a health crisis on a global scale. We are now required to stay indoors and only go outside when it is absolutely necessary. Suddenly, we are all forced to adapt to changes we never thought would happen in this lifetime. Who would have known that something so simple as staying home and washing your hands can be such heroic acts? 

What Exactly is COVID-19?

According to WHO, COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) is an infectious disease caused by a newfound coronavirus. There have been two other widespread viruses, SARS and MERS, prior to COVID-19 which makes it novel– meaning it has a new strain of virus that has never been identified in humans. This is why it’s our immune system is having a hard time recognizing this virus. 

While waiting for a cure, the world is collectively fighting a foe that is prevalent, unseen, fast-moving, and indiscriminate. Lockdowns and mass testing have been the top priorities for countries to flatten the curve and so far, those who have successfully carried it out are showing promising results. The future may seem bleak, but if there is anything history has taught us, it’s that society sharing a common goal will always find a way to overcome any challenge together; and we’re all hoping that sooner, not later, we will all come out of this pandemic stronger, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. 

What to Do after the COVID-19 Pandemic

At the time of writing, unemployment claims have skyrocketed to over 22 million people in the US alone. It is no secret that the ongoing pandemic created a massive effect in the world of commerce. Some businesses are forced to lay off people and cut down costs, brands are pushed to withdraw marketing plans and resort to organic digital efforts. Unfortunately, other businesses do not have the financial means to stay afloat in this lockdown so they had to shut down. In general, this resulted in more and more people left with no jobs, no money, and no means to meet their basic needs. 

But let’s look at the silver lining: News agencies are keeping people updated, health workers are saving lives, governments are working hastily to provide for its citizens, and the citizens are maintaining social distancing. As long as everyone is doing their part, all hope is not lost. We also have to take into consideration that vaccines are on the way. It’s only a matter of time before we can find a cure and we can hope that it will be developed faster than usual because we live in an era that is highly dependent on technology and data. Although there is no definite time on when it will be, it’s better to come prepared before it all settles down. 


Based on OECD’s research, the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on economic prospects is severe. It went so bad that influential industries, such as tourism, real estate, and apparel, are struggling to cope with its effects. Consumers are also thinking about their futures – health-wise and economic-wise – and more than three-fourths of American small businesses don’t think they will have a chance to reopen. Here in Connecticut, even old family businesses fear that they might lose their only source of income.

What to expect post-pandemic?

Companies need to increase communication, balance the needs of the business to set expectations and build morale so employees know that their well-being is your priority. Working environments will also change depending on the service you provide. Most office-based ones would have to make remote work practical and simple whenever possible. And of course, they must protect people’s health, with whatever measures are appropriate to the workplace: positive hygiene habits, personal protective equipment, frequent, if not daily, deep-cleaning administration, revision of leave credits—whatever it takes to ensure welfare and well-being of your workers are of priority. Acknowledge the flaws in your system to give a fair advantage to your best assets: your employees. 


A great insight regarding COVID-19’s impact was shared in a Politico article. It says,

“The comfort of being in the presence of others might be replaced by a greater comfort with absence, especially with those we don’t know intimately. Instead of asking, ‘Is there a reason to do this online?’ we’ll be asking, ‘Is there any good reason to do this in person?’”

No doubt that those thoughts will enter your employees’ minds as well. Once the COVID-19 is managed, consider providing flexible work arrangements with your employees. Your office also needs to undergo a complete makeover:

    • Redesign your office space so employees can safely go back to work in offices. Social distance thinking may be part of our DNA moving forward so design to create space and if possible, choose furniture that’s easy to clean.
    • Provide adequate personal cleaning products for your employees such as sanitizers, alcohol, and wet wipes.
    • Review health and hygiene protocols in your office to ensure that it is aligned with recommended sanitary guidelines by the CDC or hire cleaning professionals that know and understand them by heart.
    • Invest in office technology that helps minimize the spread of any virus (ie. touch-less technology or automated processes).

Remember, employees will be less tolerant of workplaces that fail to prioritize health and well-being for their employees especially when they prove their competence working remotely.

The Future of the ‘New Normal’

Right now, the whole world is still in shock on how COVID-19 has affected the way we live. Fortunately, we will all eventually find the light at the end of this dark tunnel. Everyone will learn to operate in initially uncomfortable but ultimately more productive digital ways whatever the industry may be. The hardships ahead are likely to be extremely exhausting, especially in our businesses and our homes. With each other’s help and contribution, this will be just another thing we’ll share with our future generations. For this, too, shall pass, and everything will return to normal, in a slightly different way.