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The entire world has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has had a huge impact on society, individuals, and the workforce. It’s difficult to imagine now, but the coronavirus crisis will end eventually, and while some things will go back to the way they were, in other cases, there will be a new normal. The way we work has been changed by the pandemic, and many of these changes will likely be a part of the new normal. Here are four ways the pandemic may change the future of the workplace.

1. More flexibility

A recent survey of professionals ages 18 - 74 found that 54% of respondents have seen positive effects on productivity from working remotely. The reasons for this were saving time from commuting, fewer distractions from co-workers, and fewer meetings. A recent Gallup survey found that 54% of workers in the US would leave their current job for one that allowed them to work remotely.

However, many people have missed the in-person communication that being in an office provides. While there will be more remote working in the future, the norm will be flexibility--a mix of working from home and working in the office.  

2. Comfortable attire

People tend to be more productive when they can be comfortable. There are some industries--like finance--that probably won’t lose the button-down shirt and tie, but you will start to see a trend toward more casual attire in general in many offices. We’ve already seen this to some extent, with many offices having “dress for your day” policies where you’re only required to dress up if you have a meeting with clients, for example, but we will see this trend accelerating.

3. Homes will be better suited for work

For many professionals, working from home was a challenge at first because they didn’t have dedicated working spaces in their homes. You will start to see home offices becoming more of a priority. We will also see a dramatic improvement in home internet. A recent survey showed that 35% of the workforce have been less productive due to slow internet at some point during this crisis.

4. Changes in the office 

The office will operate differently. While people will use remote work days to have focused, concentrated work time, the function of the office will likely be interaction and collaboration. You will likely see conference rooms and meeting spaces taking up much of the office. It will likely become a space to build community and really take advantage of the time we are all in one space.

These are just a few of the ways we will likely see the workplace changed by this pandemic. It will be interesting to see if there are other changes that happen as a result of this crisis.