The recent pandemic has changed a multitude of things in what seems like most facets of our life. Routines that had previously seemed essential have all but disappeared. Parts of our home that were previously overlooked have suddenly become valuable work from home spaces.
Within the past months we have had to reimagine the concept of a workplace and adopt new ways of working, communicating, and embracing company culture. We took a moment to list five everyday work routines we look differently today than we did in the pre-pandemic world.
Slack and Zoom: The New Essentials
The days of casual conversion over the water cooler are over (for now). With the majority of companies electing to have employees work from home; many people have been tasked with becoming masters of channel-based messaging and video communication platforms, such as Slack and Zoom. For the most part, however, this can largely benefit the business world as a whole. Those that had previously been uncomfortable setting up video meetings or interacting with clients via channel-based messaging will now have the confidence to navigate these platforms.
Of course, there are some obvious drawbacks when you eliminate face-to-face communication from the equation. Answers that could previously be obtained by strolling over to your co-worker’s desk now takes longer to get a response; among other things. However, as we keep adjusting to the new remote workplace, we become more accustomed to the virtual communication.
Are We Still Taking Breaks?
It can be very easy to find yourself head down in your laptop, not knowing what day it is, because you were “trying to finish something.” Taking breaks is ok. Back in 2019, it was routine to get up and refill your water, make a coffee, or just go on a quick walk to get some fresh air. It is obvious that COVID has made more work more challenging for everyone (shout out health care workers). Between the increase in workload and the reduced amount of social interaction; people working from home are taking fewer breaks because they have less of a reason to.
The bottom line, taking time to clear your head throughout the workday is important. Not just for productivity, but for mental health. It’s easy for stress to build-up, especially during times like these. You may be able to get away with forgetting your pants, but definitely, don’t forget to take breaks.
Coffee For Lunch
If you find yourself working from home, closer to more food, but eating less… you’re not alone. Just like your average, every day breaks, “lunch breaks” have started to seem to all but disappear. As previously mentioned, the pandemic has increased the workload for many, and so paying more attention to your work and less to your lunch is not unexpected. This combined with the convenience of having your laptop two steps from your home fridge makes it easy to work while you eat. Don’t work while you eat. Separating time from your day for a lunch break is more important than muting yourself on Zoom when blowing your nose.
Incorporating a lunch break into your daily routine is incredibly beneficial. Lunch breaks can be used as valuable time to organize thoughts, plan your day, and for most people at the moment; enjoy a home-cooked meal.
*HR Appreciation Section*
The pandemic has put the health of employees at center stage, and as a result; the role of HR has been put under a microscope. For the most part, people will be working remotely for the foreseeable future. Overseeing a multitude of employees in an office setting is one thing, but supporting teams of employees virtually is vastly different. Moving forward, HR will play a key role in the long road back to a new normal. On a long list of obstacles they will need to overcome, HR will be tasked with strategically integrating employees back into the physical work location. This decision can greatly impact employee satisfaction and overall company success.
WFH FTW (For the Win)
Hesitating to work from home out of fear of being less productive is a thing of the past. The pressure that COVID-19 has put on employees who previously worked in an office is tremendous. But, it has provided them with a valuable new skill set. Knowing how to work remotely yet efficiently is a great skill to have, and as a result of the pandemic, many will have that quality moving forward. Additionally, knowing how to be your own IT person, your own Chef, and your own Janitor are all valuable experiences that many people will benefit from.
While things may be changing by the day (or even the hour), one thing we know for sure; within the last 6 months the concept of a workplace has changed for good. We have learned a lot about staying productive and healthy, managing our workloads, and collaborating with team members even when working remotely. However, as much as we like tracksuit bottoms as an everyday work uniform, we can’t wait to reunite with our team in the office again soon.