What happens after COVID?

These past few months I have sat back and re-assessed.   I had just started my business in August and now a global pandemic.   I mean, come on 2020.  Luckily, I had created strong relationships with clients already and stayed afloat throughout.  I owe my clients everything this year.  DNP Talent is still thriving because of you.  Thank you.  It was my dream and I thank you all for allowing me to keep it going! 

I can’t help but think after this everything is going to be different. 

Not only in the workplace but also in our personal lives. 

Thoughts and prayers for micro-managers during this pandemic.  I can only imagine the breakdowns happening behind closed doors because you can’t stand over your employee cubicles to see what they are doing.  

What is this new world going to look like?  These are just thoughts.  Obviously, I have no idea what is going to happen.  

THE WORKPLACE NEW WORLD 

  1. One major argument from employers is officially gone.  “You cannot do your job remotely”.   Well we proved that wrong!  The flex to a total work from home for most of the country was swift.  If I was to wager, I would bet productivity increased as well.  This is going to be the hardest pill for employers to swallow.  Candidates and employees alike are going to require it.  People are now used to flexible schedules, working when they are most productive.  Collaboration with teams through video conferencing and messengers.  You can’t go back. I predict a HYBRID compromise will come from this.  Work several days from home, several days in the office.  Work life balance is the biggest winner in this pandemic. 
  1. Workplace culture will be defined differently. Gone are the ping pong tables and dart board selling features of the workplace.  Gone are the open office environments.  Gone are the employee pot lucks (thank goodness, in my opinion).  Gone is defining your culture by materialistic and condescending options. A ping pong table does not mean you are young, adaptive, fun and collaborative.  It means you bought a ping pong table on Amazon.  Stop trying to buy employees with fake values.   Workplace culture will start to be more about balance, collaborative work, organizations working outside of silos, creative engagement exercises, social media inclusivity (employee run days), etc.    Employee safety is going to be the top of everyone’s mind.  Open office environments will start to dwindle. Candidates and employees are going to demand it. 
  1. Work hours should shift.   Who decided 8 am – 5 pm was the only productive time to work? Since opening my own shop, I have realized that my highest productivity is between 10 am – 3:00 pm.  I do most of my sourcing, client calls, reach outs, interviews and blogging during that time period. Outside of those times I check email remotely and balance my life.  I get my to-do list done every day.  Everyone who has worked in an office environment knows you are probably working 4-5 hours total a day.  Other hours are being used to grab coffee, water, walk to the bathroom 10x a day, heat up your breakfast, heat up your lunch, heat up your 3:00 snack, cube conversations, and lunch conversations.  I used to sit in a very heavy traffic area of an office.  There were people in the office that walked by my office at least 15x a day.  There was even a team that timed their coffee and water trips together!  All 6 of them would go at the same time 3-4x a day!    Flexibility and work life balance in the new workplace will be demanded. Not all of us need 8 hours a day to be productive.  
  1. Commercial Real Estate will be impacted the hardest.  If we are working a more flexible life – If we are distancing employees while in the office – do we need this much office space?  I can’t imagine how this will truly impact commercial real estate but I can only imagine more empty buildings while people transition to home offices or remote workplaces. No more need for that room for the ping pong table! 
  1. One great thing that came from this pandemic is the comfort level increase for video interviewing.  Candidates are ready for it.  Employers could save so much money and time interviewing via video, especially for relocation candidates.  I hope this change sticks.  SKYPE has been around forever, and convincing clients/employers to use it has been painful.  Thank you to ZOOM for making the transition!  Recruiters thank you! 
  1. Playing off the virtual interviews and flexible work places – I hope the end result is National/International candidate pools.  Workers can work anywhere, technology allows that.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could recruit from the Nation or world to fill your hard to fill opening?  Instead of just relying on a zip code!  A recruiter can dream… 

You can’t help but also wonder what will happen in our personal lives with this pandemic!  

Here are some things I wish for. 

  1. Bye Bye Buffets and Pot Lucks.  (Can you tell I loathe pot lucks?!).  I have always had a problem with dozens (if not hundreds) of people touching the food that I eat.  It all started at a TJ’s Big Boy in the 1980s and I never got over it.  I can’t imagine this way of restaurants coming back after this.  I still won’t go – and I hope you will think twice. 
  1. Concerts/Festivals/Sporting Events.  I live in an area where festivals are KING.  All canceled for 2020.  But what happens next year?  Will we ever feel safe being in a crowd again?  I hope so – but right now I am terrified. 
  1. Automobile Industry.  We went down to one car when this hit.  We are both working at home – there was no point to having two cars, two gas bills, two insurance bills, etc.  Are people going to second guess having more than one car in the house?   
  1. Pantry preparation.  I have never been one to have an Italian pantry in the basement ready for the apocalypse.  But I will now.  I have a fully stocked second freezer and pantry in our basement.  That will never change after this.  I will be ready when/if there is ever a toilet paper shortage again.   
  1. Gardens.  Along the same vein as the pantry preparation – we doubled our outside garden this summer.  Growing tomatoes, potatoes, beans, eggplant, carrots, zucchini and radishes.  We are baking our own bread to supplement grocery trips too.  We are becoming more self-sufficient and not solely relying on the grocery supply chain. 
  1. Malls.   Goodbye retail.  I have no need to go to a mall.  I was already the online shopping queen but after this – what is the point?  I can literally get everything online.  JC Penny and Pier One seem to be first in line – Watch that way of doing business crumble in the coming years.  This was the nail in the coffin. 
  1. Workplace attire.  I can’t wait to see is.  I know most of you are wearing yoga pants right now reading this.  What is “business casual” after this?   Have you even tried on pants with a zipper in the last 90 days?! 
  1. Gig and self-employment will increase.  A lot of people were immediately furloughed or laid off when this started.  Companies needed to stay lean to stay alive.  But that would create a massive trust issue for the employee.  You are replaceable.  People are going to want to create their own destiny so if this happens again – they are ready.  Having my own business already established saved me.  I never had to stop hustling.   
  1. Skills/Hobbies will increase.  People forgot how to do things themselves!  We relied on Amazon and amazing grocery stores to provide us what we wanted.   I learned how to make bread, gnocchi, linguine, pickles, and about 10 different types of banana bread. I am ready for the apocalypse. I have also read 27 books since March 1st.   

Life is going to change. 

Work is going to change. 

The above thoughts are just that, thoughts. Opinions.  No one knows what will happen once everything opens up or if we have to close it right back again.  I know one thing – I have seen tenacity, trust, encouragement, hustle, friendship, support and love from my network.  I see us helping each other. I see us propping each other up.  I see us using humor to keep this light!   

We will all be ok. 

I just caution employers to not expect yesterday to return.  Everyone is moving on.  Be ready.