The New Normal: 3 Ways COVID-19 Has Redefined Workplace Productivity

By Badger Maps

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The "When" and "How" of Work Matters Less

The traditional workday and workweek have both been obsolete for over a decade. They were unworkable before the pandemic, and they are unworkable now.

Deals are not made solely during business hours, and creativity doesn't follow a rigid schedule. 

We have stubbornly clung to this relic for so long, and it is baffling. Different people hit their productivity peak at different times. The Atlantic noted that many people have internal clocks that don't work with a nine-to-five schedule.

With any luck, COVID-19 will destroy this outdated standard for good. 

By nature, distributed work requires flexible scheduling. The type of challenges or distractions an employee might face at home from family, pets, or even their general surroundings do not occur at set times. 

The good news is that many businesses appear to realize this. They have realized that it doesn't matter when or how someone does their job.  The only thing that matters is that they do their job right. 

We're Working Less (But Getting More Done)

We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work instead of the quality of time we put in. — Ariana Huffington

Data from Prodoscore shows that even though remote employees worked fewer hours, they were more productive than they would have been in the office.

 There are several reasons for this. 

  • Someone working from home has complete control of their environment. They can more easily eliminate distractions and make their surroundings comfortable.
  • A remote worker doesn't need to worry about commuting to the office or loose working hours to duck out for a doctor's appointment.
  • Remote workers are generally happier, more engaged, and more loyal to their organization, as established in a 2019 survey from Flex Jobs

This all translates to increased productivity. 

Most people feelthat they are either equally or more productive working remotely instead of in the office.  

Virtual Collaboration Is More Important Than Ever

According to The Harvard Business Review, COVID-19 has created a widening productivity gap. At the core of this gap is that many businesses did not have adequate systems and processes for collaboration before the pandemic. 

They did not understand how to manage their workforce and were hit especially hard as a result.

On the other hand, the businesses that improved knew their workforce well enough that they were able to pivot with the pandemic. They knew what their employees needed to work remotely and put in place all the necessary groundwork for virtual collaboration.

Per Forbes, such measures are critical for surviving COVID-19. But they'll be even more critical in the future

Businesses that are unable to keep remote workers connected to the workplace and their colleagues will find themselves suffering the same fate as those that failed to adapt to changing times— left behind by their industry and competition.

Make sure you know how to navigate through the Coronavirus health crisis as a sales professional by listening to Jim Panacero’s Outside Sales Talk podcast episode.

An Uncertain Road Ahead

As we eventually emerge from this crisis,  the question that is critical for us to answer is:

How will we work differently? 

COVID-19 has redefined how we relate to the workplace. It's changed how we think about productivity. 

How we feel about digital collaboration, the way we work, and how we measure success, are now all fundamentally different.

And more changes are likely to come. The pandemic and its lasting effects will still be felt for some time to come. For now, the best thing any of us can do is adapt. 

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About the Author: Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.

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