WITHOUT fanfare, the sudden work shift from office to home, as now practiced by almost all of the white and blue collar population, had become the new default everywhere.
Work-from-home or remote work, may have been a special working arrangement (and a privilege) for some in the boss levels a long time ago, while their more ordinary office workers toiled in their sweatrooms of an office downtown. As they say, in the blink of an eye, the great leveller COVID-19 had brought an end to all that. As such, the working landscape and the concept of work relations has become changed forever.
For the employees, the new-found flexibility of this new setup has proven to be an advantage. For one, it has done away with the hour(s)-long commute to work and the trip back home. Along with this, the flexibility has made work less stressful, as it has done away with, not only the routine of suiting up for work, but also sometimes avoiding face-to-face office dynamics, which some sociologists have already said are the alleged causes of work-related anxieties. Consider that in some countries and cultures, these have been proven fatal even.
Meanwhile, the demands on establishments will be far greater. For one, technology will need to improve, if all were to run smoothly, and if a so-called devolution of office tasks were to be affected during the transition. Already, the demand for a faster internet speed has become the common cry among home-workers who have to go with Zoom and other online apps for their daily meets and communications with the office, as well as clients. In turn, this is wrung up on the entrances of the two major nationwide service providers, who have still to address their clamor.
In terms of work space, the overall commercial real estate scene will also experience a downturn of sorts, as companies begin to opt for lesser working space, doing away with the ones already vacated by the presently home-based work force. In some areas, office branches have already closed, with the savings supposedly funneled to the projected transformations needed in the new work arrangements.
Meanwhile, in the smaller businesses located around or near the office (they be restaurants or food stalls), the sudden re-assignment of former patrons will severely affect them. Some have already closed shop, while others have transformed themselves into special catering outfits with food deliveries and other arrangements.
Sad to note however that not all will be well in this new setup demanded by the quarantine situation. With regard to other basic industries for example, there will be little choice except to transition into a more automated system, if and when it is available. As it is, a skeleton force kind of setup is already being implemented, with those least-needed already retired or after compensation, fired. As with the rest, they relegated to remote work.
As stated, this default setting, dictated by the pandemic and its remedial protocols, make up a bulk of our new reality. As usual, it will only be up to us to make it work, and at the soonest time. It is likewise important for us to realize that, trapped in a corner by covid, failure in this is not the option.