How are we going to work after COVID-19?
It’s not new to anyone that we are living exceptional weeks (or months) in which uncertainty and an overdose of information reign. The confinement situation caused by COVID-19 has upset everyone’s life in all its aspects. Both personally and professionally, most of us have had to adapt to changes that have come from one day to the next. How are we going to work after COVID-19?
One of the issues of greatest concern is the economic impact of this health crisis, in the short and long term. It is clear that as a society we were not prepared to deal with a situation of this magnitude. The exceptional nature of the moment has forced companies and administrations around the world to take extraordinary measures and face the challenge of keeping their economic activity with offices, factories and commercial and leisure spaces closed for an indefinite period of time.
Fotografías de Vera García
“El teletrabajo es un fenómeno que penetra lentamente en la cultura de muchas empresas españolas y ha cogido por sorpresa a muchas de ellas”
Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy have the weakest remote work culture in the EU
In Spain, remote work has been one of the trending topics in the last two weeks. It is a phenomenon that slowly penetrates the culture of Spanish companies and that has taken many of them by surprise, as well as workers who have never enjoyed or suffered, depending on how you look at it, from doing your work from home. According to the Workmonitor 2019 studio, made by the human resources consultancy Randstad, in Spain 70% of companies did not allow remote work last year. This is a high percentage if we compare it with countries such as France (64%), Germany (52%), Norway (51%) or Austria (47%).
“We must rethink certain labor practices once we overcome the current situation”
The fact that many companies have been forced to work remotely has generated a great debate on social networks and the media. The heart of the matter is that we have to rethink certain labor practices once we overcome the current situation. Tracking Twitter and LinkedIn a little further, we find thousands of people who relate how this sudden change in the way they work has affected them. However, there is a general feeling that what needs to be reviewed most urgently is flexibility and the ability to adapt to the needs of workers.
I mean that each person has different needs and capacities at the family, transportation and space levels. In other words, working from home can be a problem or a benefit depending on conditions. Tracking social media, we can also extract that loneliness is a phenomenon that, after two weeks of confinement, begins to cause negative effects in many people. On this concept (taboo, somehow) so much present in our society, I recommend the last article by Oriol Estela, excoworker and general coordinator of Barcelona Strategic Metropolitan Plan.
“Maybe the companies will implement new family reconciliation policies, make hours more flexible or rethink the type of office or workspace they need “
This “forced social transformation” that we are experiencing is likely to change the structure of many companies. Implementing new family reconciliation policies, making hours more flexible, or rethinking the type of office or workspace they need, there is no doubt that these weeks of uncertainty and turmoil will cause changes in how and where we work.
Does it make sense that a company has an office for each of its staff? Is it sustainable that everyone travels to work every day? Is it efficient to always work from home? These are some questions we should answer after this crisis.