How Will the Workplace Change After COVID-19?
COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of daily life. One of the most hard-hit elements of life for American’s is the workplace. Many businesses have temporarily or permanently closed. Those that remain open have to abide by new rules for social distancing and hygiene.
With all of this in mind, we must consider how the workplace will change after the initial threat and pandemic subside. New guidelines for social distancing and hygiene will likely stay in place – at least for a while. Here are a few of the changes that we believe workplaces can expect:
More Remote Work – The pandemic has forced millions of Americans to work from home. That includes every position from office workers to healthcare providers. One of the potential legacies from the pandemic is that many businesses will likely utilize remote work more. Some workers may even become permanently remote.
Expanded Sick Leave – Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no federal law that required employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. Even the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only provides unpaid leave. Now, Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (CARES), which provided employees with up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. This aspect of CARES will expire at the end of the year, but most states and the federal government will likely keep providing paid sick leave.
Planning for Emergencies – One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught Americans is that we all could be better prepared for emergencies – specifically healthcare emergencies. Now, businesses are increasingly looking at ways to better prepare for a health emergency. Many are implementing policies, and others are taking steps to be more mindful of health and safety in general. Businesses may start to enforce healthy policies, such as:
· Stocking protective gear and hygiene items all the time
· Displaying signage that reminds employees to wash hands
· Periodically conducting remote work drills
· Encourage employees to stay home when they are sick
While it’s not sure how long the pandemic will continue, it is clear that COVID-19 has changed the workplace’s face in profound ways.