Navigating the new norm

Rosie O’Donnell
Rosie O’Donnell

Rosie O’Donnell, marketing intern at industry marketing and PR specialist, Brouha Marketing, talks to Glass Times about how COVID-19 reshaped the way we work, not just at the time, but for the long term.

The era of COVID-19 has reshaped the way many of us work, with offices giving way to virtual spaces, and screens becoming our new colleagues.

Over 57% of employees have transitioned to remote working, a trend that persists even as the pandemic becomes history. Surprisingly, nearly half of employees are expected to continue working from home indefinitely, signalling a significant shift in our work habits.

Benefits and challenges

There are many benefits and challenges that come along with this new way of working. For most, this shift has been a beneficial offering of newfound flexibility and comfort. Approximately 83% of those who currently work from home say, “I have all the technology products I need to work at home comfortably”. However, challenges remain.

Issues such as not having the correct equipment and concerns about data security and privacy continue to hinder the world of remote work. Loneliness and the often-anti-social nature of working remotely are also rearing their ugly heads.

Impact on well being

Some individuals have found that working from home has positively impacted their mental and physical well-being. 43% of hybrid workers exercise more on the days they work remotely, and 36% spend more time with loved ones.

These benefits have led workers to say they would only apply to a hybrid role in the future, so they can carry on the flexible lifestyle they now live. This, therefore, puts a lot of pressure on companies to adopt hybrid working models.

Of course, a lot of these statistics refer to jobs where people can work from home and there are many roles that require a physical on-site presence. Indeed, in the fenestration sector, manufacturing was not a work from home role during covid, as frontline manufacturing staff weren’t able to do their work from the relative safety of their homes. Not only were people concerned about whether they could continue working through this global crisis but there was a lot of uncertainty around supply and demand – but that’s for another time. For now, it’s up to all of us to take responsibility for the future of the working world.

Productivity and structure

Interestingly, not all employees have thrived in the hybrid environment. Some companies have noticed a decline in productivity and performance amongst remote workers, which has led to a growing trend of companies calling all employees back to the office to improve these standards. For 30% of employees, remote work is not only tiring but lacks the structure and accountability found in an office setting.

One major tool facilitating this new way of work is Teams, the widely used platform this enables companies to communicate virtually with employees and other businesses more frequently. This increased virtual interaction fosters a more informal and personal connection through constant face-to-face contact.

While in-person meetings remain important, there is now less need to travel extensively. As a result, this shift often leads to more frequent and meaningful interactions and has a positive impact on our carbon footprint.

At Brouha, we’re a team of remote workers and feel the adoption of virtual communication tools like Teams has significantly enhanced our workflow and client interactions. Regular, shorter catchups with customers keep us deeply engaged with their activities, allowing us to react more quickly and provide better support.

Ultimately, we’re more in the heart of what they’re doing! This approach enables us to offer strategic input proactively, both before and during projects. As a result, we are more integrated into our clients’ processes, which strengthens our partnerships and enhances overall efficiency.

Transitioning to the new norm was initially challenging without the physical presence of peers, but the hybrid way of working has become something I appreciate. Hopefully, this new norm proves to be more effective and enjoyable than the old one!