9 Big Ways Work Has Changed Forever


There have been many discussions about the way COVID-19 has changed the way we work forever. Whether it be remote work, paid sick leave or mandatory masks, we’ve all experienced it one way or another. Among all the examples and predictions, it can be difficult to keep track of all the changes. 

What are the biggest transformations we’ve seen so far? Will these stay forever, or phase out as we emerge from the pandemic? Below, nine thought leaders share their insights about COVID-19’s effects on the modern workplace.

Quick Embrace of Remote Work

COVID-19 has definitely changed the perception of remote work faster than anything else. Prior to the pandemic, remote work was seen as a luxury for only executives and directors. Now, remote work has become one of the biggest cost-savers and public safety decisions across the world. We will definitely see larger portions of the workforce work remotely from now on.

Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional

Goodbye to the Stigma of PTO

The way we perceive employees who take sick time and remote work days will lose its stigma. Sick time, remote work and PTO have allowed employees to stay healthy and continue to work without risking the health of their families as well. As we continue to endure the pandemic and eventually come out on the other side, our culture of negativity toward this time off will become less prevalent. 

John Yardley, Threads

More Flexible Workspaces

COVID-19 has proved to us that the workplace is a malleable concept that can be altered at a moment’s notice. It has shown us that for certain industries, work can be effectively executed from home. The concept of the “workplace” has shifted and because of this, more and more businesses are shifting to permanent remote work. This allows businesses and employees to save money and still get the same work done. Moving forward, there will be less and less traditional workplaces. 

Candi Luciano, Y Scouts

Remote Work Will Be The Norm For a Larger Minority

Before COVID-19, our company worked in the office four days a week and spent Thursdays working remotely. We decided to shut down our office entirely in March and leased the office for the rest of 2020. Now, looking ahead to 2021, our office plan is to flip flop the 80/20 rule we previously applied to office vs remote time. We’ll spend 80% of our time working remotely and 20% will be spent in an office. That’s how COVID-19 changed the future of the workplace. Remote work went from a “mystery for the majority” to the “norm for a minority.”

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

More Understanding Between Employers and Employees

COVID-19 has brought a new focus to workplace flexibility including remote work that will create a new norm for future workplace considerations. In addition, it has fostered more virtual processes across organizational functions from meetings, virtual interviews, electronic documents and processes, and a host of others. Finally, it has seen the absolute best from both employers and employees making adjustments together to respond in a time of crisis. It has the potential to foster a new era in proactive, employee-centric workplaces going forward.

Kelsie McClendon, Donor Network of Arizona

Creative Problem-Solving and Innovation

I believe that COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented creativity and innovation that will stick around well into the future. People have found out they are more resilient than they ever thought possible. On one hand, COVID-19 has been regretful in that we had to experience these incredibly unstable times, but on the other hand, it has forever changed the way we work and the landscape in which we work for the better.

Heather Karp, Goodwill Southern Arizona

Reduced Dependency on Office Spaces

Employees who were reluctant to embrace technology have had to dive in headfirst. And for employers who were dragging their feet on telecommuting, they’ve learned to embrace it, with some even showing a preference for it once the pandemic subsides. COVID-19 has also proven that we probably don’t need to travel as much as we previously did for work. That said, I suspect that we won’t return to an open office environment anytime soon.

Dave Rook, JP Griffin Group

The Emergence of Co-Working Spaces

With more people working remotely, companies may open regional hubs or provide access to co-working spaces wherever their workers are concentrated rather than have the majority of their workforce at one central office.

Christine Gannon, Brightworks Consulting

Change Management is Everyone’s Business

We need to engage and involve employees in all aspects of competitive intelligence and navigate the business forward–find meaningful ways to invite that input, and use it as a learning and professional development opportunity. A learning organization and culture start with this.

Dr. L. Melanie Chase, Change Solutions