The Workplace of the Future

The Impact of Covid-19 

The pandemic has affected us all on a global scale. From countries experiencing waves of lockdowns to businesses shifting to remote-working meaning employees quickly having to adapt to using technology to stay productive and communicate (yes, who remembers meetings before Zoom). Worldwide there have been 107million cases of coronavirus with sadly over 2 million deaths but there has also been disruption to people accessing other essential treatments therefore the effect of the pandemic is much more widespread than those who have been directly impacted. An example of this is cancer care in the UK. Data from Macmillan highlights that 650,000 people with cancer in the UK have experienced disruption to their treatment or care due to the pandemic. This equates to 22% of people who have cancer in the UK. 

From an economic perspective, it’s been a turbulent year with economies across the world struggling and increasing unemployment rates. In the United Kingdom, unemployment in 2020 was at 5.4% (up from 3.8% in the previous year) with the number of new job vacancies remaining low in most countries. With lower levels of employment, many countries are inevitably in a recession as without growth, there are lower levels of income and less new jobs out there. While there are some industries that have been more affected due to the pandemic (such as hospitality, leisure and tourism, entertainment and travel), some have thrived such as digital industries, e-commerce and communication services. Changes in the way we shop has led to a global revenue of $3.9 trillion in online retail in 2020 alone.  There are also predictions of what types of businesses will thrive after covid too.

Which Businesses Will Thrive in a Post-Coronavirus Era? 

coffee shop While consumer behaviours have changed as a result of the pandemic, many of these behaviours are likely to remain in the ‘new normal’ after covid. This will have impact on the type of businesses that are likely to thrive in the post-coronavirus era. Predictions suggest that online shopping will continue to grow, while use of technology will also continue to increase meaning if your business isn’t adapting you may fall behind the competition.  Other predictions include: 

•    Increased focus on hygiene and cleanliness as expectations grow and consumer confidence may be low 
•    Less disposable income and consumers more careful about where they spend their hard-earned cash 
•    Increased focus on personal health and well-being. This relates hygiene and cleanliness as this has an impact on personal health
•    Increased socialising as people will be keen but cautious to go out after now what has been a long time in lockdown. 

Based on this, businesses that will survive and thrive in a post-covid world will be the ones that will show that they are taking hygiene and cleanliness seriously, those who adapt to technology to stay innovative but also businesses that offer the services people are after as a result of what we have missed out on. This includes hair salons, bars and restaurants, retail stores, coffee shops and gyms.  Cleaning companies providing services to these types of businesses will also benefit. Digital and e-commerce businesses and manufacturing are likely to also thrive as a result of the growth in online shopping. 

Looking Forward – The Vaccine Roll-Out 

coronavirus vaccine roll outAs the vaccine roll-out continues to be a success with millions of people now having their first jab in the UK, this provides a glimmer of hope that we will return to normal but what will normal look like in the workplace of the future? It’s been said that even with the vaccine roll-out, covid-19 won’t be forgotten about for a very long time; and businesses will have to look at ways to instil confidence in consumers and employees by implementing preventative hygiene measures for example. 

A New Way of Working After Covid-19

Even after we exit lockdown and sectors start to re-open, the ways in which we work and consume will not look like they did pre-covid and we shouldn’t think that they will either. With increased expectations around hygiene and businesses moving to remote-working more permanently, we are likely to experience a very new way of working and there will be some considerations business owners/facility managers will have to make in light of this. The return to work, life and play won’t happen overnight either. McKinsey highlight that it won’t be a simple switch to declare that businesses are now open again, rather a gradual process where businesses will have to focus on 4 areas; recovering revenue, rebuilding operations, rethinking the organisation and accelerating the adoption of digital solutions.

Opportunities for Businesses

In addition to adoption of technology and other opportunities there are further key opportunities that have been highlighted that business owners should consider when planning for success. 

Health and the Environment 

picture of hands holding leaf in the environmentAs a hygiene services provider, one vital opportunity is the link between health and the environment as presented by IBM.

Pre-pandemic, the importance of sustainability was beginning to gain momentum. Businesses were choosing to invest in more sustainable measures to protect the environment while consumers were increasingly looking to buy more eco-friendly products. 

However, this year health and hygiene have become the priority. With people staying indoors, people have got used to shopping online which means more deliveries so while IBM states this protects public health it does not protect the planet. Despite this, environmental concerns are still very much a big thing; in fact, even during the pandemic British consumers are willing to spend 12% more replacing standard household items with eco-friendly alternatives.  

Neither health or the environment should not take precedence over each other – rather they should co-exist and they are intrinsically linked. This provides an opportunity for businesses to ensure they have measures in place that both protect the planet and people whether that be through off-setting plastic use by investing in more efficient waste management or greener hygiene solutions such as water management systems. 

Innovation Wins 

With rapid developments in technology and AI, PWC state that businesses who are innovative in their approach, their offerings and digital will beat the competition. Whether you are a restaurant business or gym, coming up with new, fresh ideas to stand out from the crowd will be needed to thrive in a post-pandemic world as markets. 

The Human Factor 

With many people being stuck in doors with little to no socialising (except through a computer or phone screen), the human factor is going to become important when we think of the workplace of the future. Companies that will thrive will be the ones that recognise this and take steps to make their brand and service more ‘personal.’ 

Well-Being in the Workplace

Correlating to the above point, well-being in the workplace is a big opportunity for businesses in 2021 and beyond. As employees air caution about returning to the workplace, thinking of ways to deliver on health and well-being is absolutely vital to build on trust and confidence. Worries about returning to the workplace are a real thing and as an employer, simply doing the right thing by implementing measures for a safer facility will really help to alleviate any worries.  In a recent survey in conjunction with OnePoll, Citron Hygiene discovered what would make UK adults more comfortable about going out and returning to the workplace.

Sector Specific Guidance for the Re-Imagined Workplace

As every business is different, to help you think about the considerations your business may have to think about, we have put together specific guidance for various sectors below.  

The Restaurant of the Future – Guidance for Restaurants & Bars 

How to Create a Safe Workplace - a Guide for Manufacturing Companies

Guidance for Educational Facilities 

Free Hygiene Guidance Posters 

Back Safely Resources 

About Citron Hygiene 

As a hygiene services company, Citron Hygiene is passionate about building healthy spaces and can support your business to recover, thrive and succeed with our complete range of hygiene solutions. To find out how we can help, explore our range of services or alternatively, why not book a free facility hygiene consultation with our experts.