There has been a growing trend in for many years, a call to the better nature of managers and business leaders for a better work-life balance. Whether this comes from start-ups offering unlimited holidays, to the desperate call from parents for flexible and working from home options.
It has seemed that, although slow, the world has been making some waves towards answering these calls. With many Americans suffering from workplace stress-related mental health problems, many companies have finally seen the light. They have realized that offering more modern solutions to working is a benefit to the company as well as the employee.
Enter the Pandemic
Of course, ticking along slowly was not quite fast enough for a global storm that seemingly hit from nowhere. Back in January 2020, there were small rumbles, little whispers of a virus in China causing a few problems, but most of us did not think much of it, the assumption was that it would blow over relatively easily. The news occupied the same space in the minds of the nation that SARS, MERS, Bird Flu, and Swine Flu do, a small worry but nothing of great concern.
Towards the end of February, it became clear that this was more serious than we had assumed before. The death toll began rising, and it was clear that containing an outbreak was nearly impossible.
Fast forward to the end of April, and everything has changed. Suddenly there are queues to get into grocery shops, we’re being told to wear masks in public, and words such as ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ have become common.
Can anyone remember what they were doing ‘pre-pandemic’?
The Impact on Modern Workplaces
The modern workplace was, before this hit, a vibrant place buzzing with people, now office lay abandoned as hundreds of thousands of employees work from home. Pajamas and slippers have replaced slacks and suits, and the scrabble for well managed IT solutions have propelled companies like 24×7 IT Solutions to vital industry status.
Even the way companies communicate has suddenly changed. Six weeks ago, we laughed at ‘shaking elbows’, and now we’re all becoming experts in video conferencing and trying to ensure the kids are entertained and out of the room. At the same time, we close that deal over Zoom.
The Great Employee Mindset Shift
The big question here is, do we want it to go back to ‘normal’? The 40-hour work week with 10 hours’ commuting time thrown in? Leaving in the dark and returning in the dark to earn money to pay for the house you never see? Handing the kids over to a stranger, a childminder, or an endless list of clubs so you can fit it all in?
Many of us would argue no. We do not want life to go back to the way it was. If there is one thing this pandemic has taught busy city dwellers across the globe, it is that time is our most valuable commodity.