When COVID-19 started, a lot of companies, brands, stores, and of course, and their employees, took a heavy blow. The lockdown that was undertaken all around the world required us to remain at home for the sake of reducing the chances of spreading the disease, which of course, meant that a lot of companies out there could not deal with the loss of sales and customers.
This resulted in a lot of people losing their jobs, and a lot of companies changing their processes to ensure that they could handle the situation accordingly. It is true that, to specific industries that could rely on technology to adapt, things changed for the better, but for most companies out there, things definitely took a turn for the worse.
As of August 2021, things have considerably improved, mostly thanks to the vaccines that are being applied right now, and the fact that people are now safer in comparison to middle 2020. Still, some of the adaptation processes people and companies had to partake in have remained.
In this article, we will talk about some of the limitations that COVID-19 brought to the table, and discuss in which way companies and people had to adapt professionally to remain relevant considering the current circumstances.
First of all, let’s talk about the professional aspects in which COVID-19 affected people and companies, and how they managed to solve some of these limitations. After that, let’s dwell on the way people struggled with it while working from home, and how most people are handling the current situation.
The Incredible Rise of Unemployment
The first and most notable problem was definitely the incredible rise of unemployment that hit the world during 2020. Sadly, a lot of people struggled with this aspect of the quarantine and considering the incredible amount of face-to-face jobs out there, this is understandable.
In 2020, a report showcased that 1 in 4 adults struggled with covering usual expenses regarding their household needs. It was shown that around 64 million people were struggling financially to the point of engaging in poor eating habits, and this included their family members as well. Taking into consideration that inside the United States, around July, reports showcased that more than 12 million people were unemployed.
Things Have Definitely Improved, Though
Thankfully, things have definitely improved, and people are now returning to a more stable financial position. However, it is true that biosecurity measures are still necessary to ensure the safety of all parties involved, including customers and employees.
One of the most common biosecurity measures still present today is the home office methodology, in which people work from home to fulfill their responsibilities. This option is mostly available for people that can work from home, regardless of their type of job. Good examples of these professions include ones that are related to content creation, management, software development, graphic design, and teaching professions.
It is also true that some people managed to find a new vocation in freelancing. Freelancing can be simply described as the act of selling your skills and expertise on the internet to earn a profit. You don’t work for a particular organization or company, but work directly with the customer of your choice to deliver a particular request. This gives you a lot of freedom in various aspects, but it can be a little rough to start since you usually need to build a reputation.
Still, things like becoming a Yoga online instructor or selling your talent at singing, drawing, narrating, or even dancing, are now possible thanks to freelancing, which is one of the reasons why some people managed to handle the current global crisis just fine.
Adding to that, we can say that both freelancing and working from home for a company are heavily related, since they are similar in the way in which people engage various aspects of their work, and this includes sharing ideas or communicating with customers or superiors. Let’s talk about this in the next section, and how companies managed to strive with the use of the work-from-home methodology.
How Companies Handled It
Now, there are a lot of companies out there that, in some way or another, managed to bloom during quarantine. This is mostly thanks to technology and the way that it has facilitated several aspects necessary to properly run any business. This includes aspects like leadership, organization, management, communication, and production.
Technology is also what makes working from home and freelancing possible, thanks to the internet and various programs and websites that enable us to engage in this particular way of working.
Some of the technologies that are now commonly used all around the world include software like Slack, Zoom, Skype, Trello, Microsoft Teams, among many others. These are well known for being great programs that can be used not only to communicate but also, organize teams and place tasks which they need to fulfill. Freelancers can also use these programs to communicate with customers and organize themselves more efficiently.
The Problems With Employees Working from Home
However, something we have to say is that not everything is perfect when it comes to this specific work methodology, and that is why companies had to engage in different changes to work around these problems.
Some of the most common problems businesses had to deal with related to their employees working from home, include:
- Not understanding how to properly implement and benefit from different technologies to ensure that various aspects of their processes were handled properly.
- The inability of their employees to properly communicate tasks, ideas, expectations, solutions, and decisions.
- Poorly managed documentation and a lack of organization regarding processes between teams, which directly affected productivity.
- A lack of respect for employees and their time due to the fact that they were “mostly” available to deal with solutions, which turned into dissatisfaction, and many employees quitting because of it.
Some of the Solutions They Came With
First of all, although some companies were capable of handling the implementation of technology to improve their communication, organization, documentation, and productivity, it doesn’t mean that most of them were capable of handling such a change, mostly because some businesses were still engaging in outdated processes.
Most businesses decided to approach these changes with care, slowly changing methodologies and updating their processes. Others decide to hire professional service providers to help them during the implementation of said technologies. One good example of this type of service provider includes G 12 Communications, which is a specific provider that works with Microsoft Team, one of the most used software for meetings, videoconferences, and group communications.
This did greatly streamline different aspects of business management for a lot of companies all around the world, and it also improved communications reasonably, ensuring a profitable level of productivity.
Of course, these changes include various things that definitely played an important role, such as:
- Preparing staff to take the role of leaders
- Training employees to simplify their ideas to enhance communication
- Monitoring productivity levels to engage in changes that could improve the flow of work
- Sharing reasonable goals and expectations to ensure employees were satisfied with their workloads
- Ensure a reasonable level of communication between different teams and departments to smooth processes
What About Other Industries?
As for now, we’ve been talking about those companies that only relied on their employees working from home. Although many, we can say that a lot of brands and businesses couldn’t rely on this methodology to deal with their situation.
Still, as showcased over here, a lot of companies relied on delivery apps and services to keep the business running. Some good examples of this include things like retail and small stores, supermarkets, grocery stores, drug stores, and restaurants.
In fact, during 2020, and even today, the use of delivery apps to buy things is now more present than ever, and it is one of the things that allows multiple industries to remain feasible.
The Benefits for Employees and Freelancers
One of the aspects regarding COVID-19 is the way it affected people. We already talked about unemployment, and how companies managed to remain profitable using the working-from-home methodology. However, how did it affect people?
Well, is not a lie to say that a lot of people saw this as a very positive trait of the situation. In fact, I can also enter this category, since I have been a freelancer for quite some time, and I have always been comfortable with the idea since I have been doing it for quite some time. The fact that you, as an employee, spend less on a monthly basis because you don’t need to commute, is one of the most important aspects of working from home.
However, I would dare to say that the most important benefit of working from home is the freedom it provides employees. The sole idea of being able to work without following office rules like not listening to music, exercising, or taking breaks, is true, a very good thing. There’s also the fact that one is much more comfortable inside of their homes than in any place.
As long as people manage to hit specific milestones, they can also take some time for themselves and engage in certain activities that before were impossible, nurturing themselves even more.
But sadly, not everything was considered a good thing.
COVID-19 and Mental Health
With COVID-19, a lot of attention was brought to mental health issues related to depression, loneliness, anxiety, and stress. This was due to the fact that a lot of people were unable to meet with their significant others, which caused them distress. There’s also the fact that, due to the circumstances brought by the quarantine, a lot of people struggled with keeping themselves mentally and physically healthy.
For that reason, people began to engage in different activities that could, in a way, help them remain mentally healthy. Some good examples of this include things like exercising, dieting, meditating, doing yoga, gardening, or engaging in a social activity like video games. Some people even adopted a pet, which is, according to science, a very good way to fight loneliness and depression.
For me, video games were definitely an incredible hobby to deal with my loneliness, since they allowed me to remain in contact with my friends why also enjoying a fun activity. During 2020, and even in the middle of 2021, a lot of social video games are blooming, and are being enjoyed by an amazing number of people. In September 2020, a game called Among Us had over 60 million daily active users!
Improving one’s mental health and keeping up with these daily routines has been tagged as essential to remain productive during quarantine, and why it is considered very important today since poor mental health can heavily influence productivity.
Problems Adapting and Managing Discipline
Another aspect of working home is the fact a group of people had problems adapting with it, and taking into consideration how most people worked from offices, this struggle is completely understandable.
The most noticeable problem regarding this adapting process was managing time, and of course, discipline. Discipline is an important trait to have when it comes to working from home, due to the fact that too many distractions and poor management time can lead to problems related to fulfilling milestones and keeping up with workloads.
For that reason, as showcased at https://www.wikihow.com/Work-from-Home, it is important to engage in lifestyle changes that could help us deal with his aspect of our jobs. Ideally, you should try to find a working method that works for you.
Considering that each individual is a world of its own, this can be a little difficult to achieve, but assessing yourself and your usual problems are often the key to find a methodology that works for you. Some of the questions you can ask yourself include:
- What are the things enabling you from working? Are there any distractions?
- What can you do to make your work more enjoyable?
- Is your workspace reliable and comfortable?
- Are you using any form of tool or software to manage your time, if managing your time is a problem?
- Are you taking breaks in between milestones?
If you manage to deal with these aspects, I believe your working experience will definitely improve for the better.