life

The New Normal: How Our Working Lives Have Changed with COVID-19

Vishal Bhaskaran

Vishal Bhaskaran

2020-05-07

As we gradually return to our desks, it will be to an unfamiliar working environment. Communication and contact are stripped to its bare essentials and everything that can be done through technology, is. If you’re wondering what this will look like, read on.

1. Contactless Greetings

Handshakes are not the done thing right now, and may not be for a while. There are many ways to show one’s respect when meeting someone, either for the first time or regularly in a professional setting. A raised palm, a wave, or perhaps more personal, a hand over the heart.

Or go for the Black Panther salute, why not. Wakanda Forever. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

2. The Digital Brainstorm

Remember all those meetings you thought could have been an email? They’re still meetings. But on a screen instead. The upside? Time and money saved on travel. And effort saved on dressing up. The efficiency is there, the effectiveness is up to you.

Was Chris wearing pants five minutes before this call? It doesn’t matter.

3. No more social lunches

The midday meal used to be a chance to sit with the office buddies and unwind. The more scandalous the topic, the closer the huddle. Now, the most considerate thing to do, whether in the office pantry or eating out, is to eat alone. And quickly, so that the next person can have their meal too.

You’re not antisocial. You’re saving the world, one solo meal at a time.

4. Productivity tools galore

You may not be able to tap Chris on the back and ask him if the spreadsheet is done, but you can assign it to him and check for his updates. Provide a description, useful links, and relevant attachments and you might find that less gets lost in translation this way, leading to better work the first time.

This is Chris realising that he’s missed the deadline. Again.

5. No More Mr Tough Guy

Back in the day, you may have sucked it up if you felt under the weather and powered through the workday because you were a committed employee. Now, that would be the opposite of the case. An elevated temperature, a persistent cough, or anything less than your best, and you should just stay home.

The numbers on a thermometer don’t lie. Good on you for checking, Susan.

How have you been coping with the new work normal? Is there anything else that has changed that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments. Be safe!

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