What to Expect in a Post-Covid Work World

It's not clear yet whether changes will be permanent, but it's clear some significant shifts are in the offing.

When it comes to a post-Covid world, some things will never be the same. Organizations are taking steps toward a new and somewhat uncertain future as they come to understand the lasting impact Covid will have on not only how they do business with customers but also how they operate, hire and allocate funds.

Leaders of innovative companies are at the forefront of executive teams redefining business processes long thought to be the foundations of a successful economy. These executives are taking the necessary steps to make proactive long-term changes others will be making in the months and years ahead.

Here is what to expect in the post-Covid business world so today’s leaders can adapt and stay ahead of the coming changes, some of which are already here.

• Flexible scheduling and remote work are now the standard.

The tech sector is often heralded as the arbiter of change when it comes to business, and our post-Covid future is no different. Tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Twitter were some of the first companies to mandate work from home policies when Covid hit. Now, they have some of the furthest dates of when those employees will return to the office, if they ever do.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was the first to announce that Twitter and Square would be extending these remote policies indefinitely. But they won’t be the last. While other companies are reluctant to announce entirely remote policies post-Covid, this future is inevitable. The past hurdles to remote work and flexible scheduling stemmed from leadership’s inability to trust the work could get done and their workers would remain productive. However, it’s clear that, as the entire globe has shifted to remote work and more flexible schedules, productivity remains high. Employees are also empowered with the knowledge they can work successfully from any location, without strict 9-to-5 schedules.

Given both employers and employees see the direct benefits of a fully remote workforce and more flexible hours, there’s nothing to lose from a push to replace lengthy commutes, the expense of living in a major city, and meager work-life balance with the benefits of an entirely remote job.

• Companies will reprioritize business expenses.

The result of an almost entirely remote workforce will have a significant impact on the way businesses prioritize overhead costs and other related expenses. As budgets were slashed and funds reallocated or paused at the start of the pandemic, many organizations have started to explore how this capital can be better spent in a post-Covid reality.

Significant savings from the reduction of office space in major metropolitan areas, relocation costs for talent, and budgets dedicated to in-person marketing will be reallocated to investments in tools, devices, and secure networks to support a remote workforce. Forward-thinking leaders are investing in IT, mobile, eCommerce, data science and UX/UI talent now as demand continues to skyrocket resulting from companies looking to best support remote employees and provide new, engaging digital experiences for consumers.

• Renewed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focus by employees.

Corporate social responsibility is a fully fledged marketing strategy for companies targeting the growing consumer audiences of millennials and Gen Z who are more socially conscious than their predecessors. But they don’t just want to buy from ethical companies; they want to work for them. The toll Covid has taken on the mental health of employees has reiterated the importance of buy-in from employers in their role of supporting the mental well-being of their employees, along with calls to do more to care for the environment and local communities.

As a majority of millennials and Gen Z are either just entering the workforce or have been in the workforce for a decade or less, they don’t hold the same beliefs that mental health and social causes should be addressed outside of work. Talent will expect their employees to expand their Employee Assistance benefits, provide additional mental health support, prioritize diversity and commit to dedicated CSR strategies to reduce their environmental impact today, not 10 or 20 years from now.

In a post-Covid marketplace where specialized talent will be more challenging to attract and retain than ever, these are the new expectations leaders should prepare for now to remain competitive and innovative moving forward.