Search Results for: social distancing

One dishonest co-worker can disrupt an entire workplace

One dishonest co-worker can disrupt an entire workplace

The devil takes the hindmost - how the actions of a co-worker can disrupt a businessA vicious cycle can begin with one little white lie from a co-worker, diminishing the ability of other employees to read others and then even undermining the entire workplace or business, finds a new study from researchers at Michigan, Harvard, Virginia and Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. Dishonest deeds diminish a person’s ability to read others’ emotions, or “interpersonal cognition,” the research found. In addition, the consequences can snowball. One dishonest act can set in motion even more dishonesty. More →

The much talked about new normal doesn’t exist, but the world has changed in profound ways

The much talked about new normal doesn’t exist, but the world has changed in profound ways

no new normalThe World Health Organization officially declared COVID a pandemic on March 11 2020. Now, two years later, there’s light for some at the end of the tunnel. In many wealthier countries, which have benefited from several rounds of vaccination, the worst of the pandemic is over. We’ve got here by learning a lot of new health behaviour, like wearing masks and sanitising our hands. Many of us have also developed a variety of social habits to reduce the virus’s spread – such as working from home, shopping online, travelling locally and socialising less. But as parts of the world emerge from the pandemic, are these new habits here to stay, or do old habits really die hard? Is there a new normal? Here’s what data can tell us.

 

 

Work

One of the biggest changes predicted during the pandemic was a long-term shift towards home or hybrid working. However, there are already signs that this transition might not be as obvious or complete as expected.

The signs of the transition to hybrid work are not as obvious or complete as expected

In the UK, the proportion of people working from home at least some of the time increased from 27 percent in 2019 to 37 percent in 2020, before falling to 30 percent in January 2022. Similarly, in the US the proportion working from home declined from 35 percent in May 2020 to 11 percent in December 2021.

One of the main reasons people are going back to the office is employers’ expectations. Many companies are concerned that more permanent home working might affect employees’ team building, creativity and productivity.

But among employees, there’s a greater appetite for hybrid and flexible working. One recent multi-national survey found that whereas roughly one-third of workers had worked at home at least some of the time before the pandemic, roughly half said they want to in the future.

 

Shopping

The pandemic didn’t create the habit of online shopping, but it makes more of us do it. Did this make us realise we don’t need actual stores anymore?

It doesn’t seem so. Shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores has already started to recover. Recent data on people’s movements, gathered anonymously from mobile devices, shows how in many countries, before omicron hit, travel to retail and recreation spaces was back up to pre-pandemic levels, and is already starting to rebound after omicron.

The rise in online sales has also not been as dramatic or sustained as many predicted. In the UK, online sales made up 20 percent of total retail sales before the pandemic. By February 2021 this had risen to 36 percent, before declining steadily to 25 percent in February 2022.

 

Travel

One habit that might take longer to recover is our pre-pandemic love of international travel. It has taken a hit around the world, and the sector is still struggling. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization projects that international travel in 2022 will still be down by nearly a half compared to 2019.

One British survey conducted last September found that while 80 percent of people were planning on holidaying in the UK in the next year, only around 40 percent were considering going abroad. In comparison, in the 12 months up to July 2019, 64 percent of Brits travelled abroad for a holiday according to one travel industry body.

People’s reluctance to travel has been largely down to concerns over the virus and confusion over travel rules. As worries decline and rules get lifted, we may see a “mini-boom” in holidaymaking.

 

Socialising

Early in the pandemic, some commentators – including the US chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci – suggested we might never return to shaking hands. I, with my colleague Dr Kimberly Dienes, argued that it was vital these rituals make a comeback, as they have several social, psychological and even biological benefits.

Are social-distancing habits, including meeting fewer people and having less physical contact with those we do, here to stay? For most people, no. Data shows only one-third of people in the UK are still socially distancing regularly, the lowest proportion since the pandemic began.

 

No new normal

But truly, only time will tell how much the pandemic will have changed our habits. However, bolder predictions – that the pandemic was going to completely and irrevocably change our ways of working, shopping, travelling and socialising – now seem premature and exaggerated. The pandemic has taught us we can work, learn, shop and socialise in different ways, but the question now is whether we still want to.

The pandemic has taught us that we need to connect with others

Humans have basic needs, such as autonomy, feeling related to others, and feeling effective and competent in what we do. Part of the challenge with home working, for example, is that it simultaneously fulfils one need by giving us greater autonomy but takes away another by making us less connected. Expanding adequately supported, equality-focused, hybrid and flexible working arrangements is perhaps a promising way to meet both needs.

Some people will have acquired a sense of competence, or at least familiarity, with the new ways of doing things during the pandemic and so may wish to keep doing them. In some areas – travelling overseas, for example – it may take longer for our competence, and confidence, in old habits to return. However, many seem to be quite quickly returning to old ways and re-learning how to feel competent at doing things that they did before.

The extent to which we’ll go back to our old ways may also depend on our personality traits, which have been shown to shape our compliance with new behaviour. For example, those more open to new experiences by nature, or more extroverted, may be more eager to travel internationally or socialise in larger groups.

Finally, the pandemic may have served as a reminder of how much we appreciate everyday interactions with others, in shops, restaurants and so on. People may be keen to return to familiar ways that revive this – for example, picking something up in a store on the way home from work. Above all, the pandemic has taught us that we need to connect with others and that there are limits as to how much online communication can replace real, face-to-face interactions.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The new dimensions of workplace wellbeing

The new dimensions of workplace wellbeing

A healthy, engaged and productive work environment starts with conversations about people’s needs. So whether you have always been on a co-located team or are a veteran of remote work, there are new circumstances and the old rulebook doesn’t quite help. The change has been sudden, in a sustained moment of uncertainty, and has disrupted employee routines and support structures. More →

Wearable tech that allows people to manage their own COVID-19 risk

Wearable tech that allows people to manage their own COVID-19 risk

Prolojik remains at the forefront of harnessing the ubiquitous nature of lighting controls to contribute to the measurement and control of the COVID virus. Building on one of its latest innovations, Proxima allows organisations from commercial workplaces to schools and universities to empower people to manage their own risk and exposure to the COVID virus,  through wearable technology in the form of a wristband or lanyard  that connects wirelessly to Prolojik’s Proxima sensor network. More →

Supporting hybrid teams, both in and out of the office

Supporting hybrid teams, both in and out of the office

HybridAs the UK is in the midst of the traditional ‘back to school’ period, many workplaces are debating over when to return to the office, and how. The sudden move to remote working during lockdown has proven that a new hybrid way of working is in fact possible for numerous organisations, but this has come at the expense of face to face communication and in person collaboration. More →

Overcoming the fear of going out

Overcoming the fear of going out

Over the last several months, some workers have exhibited a new ailment that has got nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic that sent them scurrying home to set up virtual offices in the first place. It’s called FOGO, as coined by Forbes magazine contributing writer Jodie Cook, and it refers to a new phenomenon known as the “Fear of Going Out”.

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The lessons learned under lockdown will help us grow and improve

The lessons learned under lockdown will help us grow and improve

As the global community navigates the Coronavirus crisis, the nature of the workplace will be more important than ever. We have been working remotely on an unprecedented scale, and the benefits are clear – flexibility, time with family, and reduced commuting as a start. In some form, working from home is here to stay, even as returning to the physical office becomes possible. However, we have also discovered the limitations to remote working. While teams have been able to stay connected virtually, this cannot substitute for face-to-face collaboration, which is essential to fostering innovation. More →

The slacker`s guide to working from home in ten easy steps

The slacker`s guide to working from home in ten easy steps

working from homeIt’s funny how all the stuff we read online over the last few years about how to be and behave at work suddenly contradicts all the guff about how to be effective while working from home over the last few weeks. Well, here’s the guide for those who’ve been taking their internet reading to heart over the last few years. More →

Fall in employment and property values is inevitable

Fall in employment and property values is inevitable

commercial propertyIt is already inevitable that the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will include a “big hit to commercial property values” and a rise in unemployment in the UK, according to reports from researchers Capital Economics (paywall). The economic research consultancy has downgraded its forecasts for the UK economy and, as a result, is projecting a near 10 percent decline in property values and a rapid but short-lived increase in unemployment. More →

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