The challenge is: How will we shape the workplace into something new without destroying components of its past that are worth keeping?
For the businesses that do decide to keep their centralized workspaces, the office of tomorrow will be designed to keep people working together while physically apart. Companies will kill open floorplans and shared workspaces. We will see the rise of virtual workspaces in collocated office buildings and the return of offices or closed off cubicles.
HR and business departments must collaborate — instead of showing an organization is recession-proof, an organization must prove it is “pandemic proof.”
Most importantly, however, we will see companies reaffirm the need for strong chief human resource officers (CHRO) to weather this pandemic and future threats. A good CHRO can reinvent the enterprise and build skillsets. A great CHRO can keep the workforce going through a crisis and protect staff and stakeholders. The best CHROs are responding to Covid-19 with next-level ingenuity — their organizations are not only surviving, but thriving.
The US workforce is no stranger to crises. As history teaches us: This, too, shall pass. In the post-Covid-19 world of work, all of us will have to be capable of adapting.