What will the post-Covid 19 office work look like?

Author: Milos Markovic, Marketing Manager, NMC

What will the post-Covid 19 office work look like?

We are witnesses that a huge number of companies, due to the introduction of the state of emergency caused by the COVID 19 virus pandemic, organized their business by working from home. Initially, this option was the best and fastest solution, but it quickly became an obligation, and not only for those companies that could easily organize themselves, but also for larger ones and even manufacturing companies. The introduction of restrictive measures in almost all countries affected by the corona virus has left great consequences on all branches of industry, especially the measure of closing various facilities, which due to the nature of their work could not operate "remotely". This truly peculiar situation, which for many people, and especially to the fans of "conspiracy theories," looked like a "global experiment of online life", has produced extraordinary results. While on one side some companies were counting losses due to closure, and employees complained that working from home was unproductive and even more tiring (especially those with children), on the other side there were also those to whom this type of business was more than suitable. They even pointed out that in the last period they were much more productive, that they were able to, in addition to performing regular activities, even to learn additional things and acquire new skills, and also that they would gladly continue to work this way.

According to The Guardian, regardless of technology, working from home is not for everyone; it quotes one employee of a technology company who says that "there comes a moment when even the introverts want to see another human being".

In any case, the situation is slowly calming down and we are returning together to a new "normality", which now imposes new questions on us, such as questions about what the business premises we will look like after the end of the pandemic. Will the concept of so-called. "open space" survive? How will we function under masks for eight hours a day? Will we be able to maintain a physical distance of at least two meters? For example, what will the meetings with more than five people look like?

In the interview for Netokracija, Damjan Geber, one of the founders and the Director of the architectural studio Brigada, pointed out that according to everything we hear these days, but also according to their research, we will face a significant change in the way we use workspaces compared time before the pandemics. According to him, this wil not be the end of offices, but it is very likely the end of classic office spaces; he added that "Office 3.0" will be created, which will be a hybrid of our previous work in offices and the newly acquired experience of working from home. "For starters, that means that we will reset the tables, put the disinfectants in rooms, send instructions for behavior and the like, but what about the less obvious segments such as sanitation, congestion of elevators in which it would not be possible to have more than two people or coffee and water machines?" "Even when everything manages to be sorted out, only then will it be time to think about how to maintain or increase productivity, team membership, innovation, team spirit and other key segments for the progress of each company," said Damjan Geber. (source: www.netokracija.rs)

How do marketers view this whole situation?
The situation in this branch is also very divided. In addition to those who have enjoyed working from home, there are also those who find this whole situation worrying. For example, UK marketers fear that teleworking (work from home) could "compromise" the brand they work for and have expressed concern that teleworking during a pandemic of the Corona virus could endanger their businesses. Marketing Veek and its sister title the Econsultants conducted an exclusive UK survey of 887 marketers whose results showed that teleworking was rare among 38% of them, with 83% believing it would become commonplace in the short term. When it comes to influencing marketing teams, 59% of respondents said that conducting productive meetings remotely will be somewhat or very challenging, while 54% of them think that attending such meetings will be difficult. Likewise, 32% of marketers worry about the challenges in accessing data and databases, 29% are concerned about campaign coordination, and 25% are concerned that vendor or contractor management will be compromised in the context of teleworking. (source: www.marketingweek.com)

Milos MarkovicIt remains to be seen how the situation will develop further. Will the Corona bring us closer by being apart or will it distance us by bringing back the old school office space with doors between offices. Have we really used work from home to acquire new skills or have we barely survived it, acting like octopuses between children, bosses, business partners, and online meetings. Time will show.

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