We’re not sure what the post-pandemic world will look like, but the current situation has already made significant shifts in the way we live, learn, and do business.

Paul R. Carr, a professor and UNESCO Chair in Democracy, Global Citizenship and Transformative Education at the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) writes that a full return to ‘life as we know it’ after COVID-19 would be inhumane because our established societal structures skew towards racism, sexual discrimination, and environmental disregard.

There’s also the matter of work-life balance which, before the pandemic, was becoming increasingly hard to maintain.

January survey of more than 20,000 workers in 15 countries found that nearly eight in ten employees worldwide suffer from burnout, largely due to toxic work environments created by mismanagement. That same month, a separate survey was released suggesting nearly half of U.S. employees said taking time off for vacation causes more work-related stress than it’s worth.

VIDEO: Working from home in a crowded house

New survey suggests working from home could become the norm

Earlier this month, Willis Towers Watson (WTW) released the results of a recent survey that indicates the way we work may permanently change post-COVID-19.

The survey, which is the result of interviews with 681 U.S.-based companies that employ 7.1 million workers, suggests companies will become more open to remote work.

“Although the economy is still in upheaval, one thing is clear: Remote working is here to stay,” said Adrienne Altman, North America head, Work and Rewards, Willis Towers Watson, in a statement.

“One of the many challenges facing employers is to what extent do they keep remote working policies in place and how do they support employees who make the shift permanent.”

More automation

WTW found 22 per cent of the companies interviewed have made adjustments to their use of automation since lockdowns began, with 18 per cent of work currently being done that way. That’s up from 16 per cent over last year. 

These same organizations forecast that 23 per cent of their work will continue to be done by automation once stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Working from home

The employers reported about 53 per cent of their full-time staff is now working remotely. That’s expected to drop to 22 per cent once COVID-19 passes, which is a significant increase over the 7 per cent of employees who were remote last year.

Some big companies have already made the shift

Some large companies aren’t waiting until the virus passes to finalize their plans. TwitterShopify, and Canada’s Bank of Montreal have already announced some employees will work from home permanently from now on.