NEW WAYS: GOING BACK TO WORK AFTER QUARANTINE
Lhia Ubaldo | May 5, 2020
Things are about to get weird at work.
COVID-19 has affected us all in different ways when it comes to both our personal and professional lives. We’re in the last week of the lockdown but there is still no confirmation of what might really happen after this ENHANCED COMMUNITY QUARANTINE. Since the lockdown conditions were first imposed on March 15, most of the nation’s workers have become accustomed to working from home, some needed to stop work unfortunately. But this we are sure of: there will be number of changes when we go out and get back to our offices/work.
Until health experts find the cure for COVID-19, your routine when it comes to work will never be the same again.
LEAVING THE HOUSE
Do you remember your typical routine before leaving your house on a Monday morning? Get out of bed, take a shower, dress nicely, have breakfast, take off for work, then brace the ruthless traffic. But since everything’s changed, the new normal is being extremely mindful of your things and one of those are your mask, disinfectant sprays and gloves. Just like in any battle, you’ll need to bring your weapon before going out into the battlefield.
In the Philippines, majority of people relay in public transportation. You don’t only rely on bicycles since offices aren’t just around the corner like in other countries. But since this pandemic is not an excuse for every Filipino’s horrid transportation experience and if the government permits, we should have also a one seat-apart distancing. Remember back in the old days before COVID-19, where we get to be sardines in MRTs, UV Express and jeepneys? We hope that wouldn’t be the setting when we get back to work.
IN YOUR WORKPLACE
Upon arriving in any office, you just usually say hi to kuya guard, let him check your bag push the going up button and wait for the elevator and really stick yourself in there when the elevator door opens. You all listen to each other’s breathing while waiting for your stop (insert song “the girl from ipanema”). Well, it wouldn’t be the same again. Since we’re in a pickle and checkpoints are a must, the new setting would be getting your temperature checked, have proper distancing while waiting for the elevator and have at least 2-6 person at a time. Did we mention the office arrangements? We mean the desks. Expect that they will be placed in proper distances.
Before COVID-19, every offices were pushing density, where employees don’t have assigned seats and might as well work with any open table or desk available. Now offices want to be very careful about the spaces where employees are in.
Everybody loves Susan and Mark! You know, your officemate Susan you have lunch with and coffee breaks with every 4 PM? And Mark, the guy you share jokes about Jerry from the accounting department? While some offices will only allow 30% to 40% of employee in their building in observance of physical distancing, you might miss some of your friends in your office.
While back in the day, the meeting rooms are always filled with people, expect now that people will be relaying in Zoom meetings. Yes, even while you’re at the office and your officemates are at home, you’ll still see each other on screen though, but the pantry and comfort room will never be the same again without them.
NEW WAYS AND NEW HABITS
It was nice back then when you wanted to eat a snack while working, when you just brushed your hand on something and didn’t care. Or when you just want to take a quick break outside to get some fresh air. But now, every action you make and every place you go requires you to show your pass/ID (if you have one), checks your temperature regularly and have you disinfect at all times.
While some see this pandemic as very disastrous, some companies (and even employees) see this as a new chance to experiment with remote work. Most companies require shifting and an MWF schedule at the office. But whether we work from home or we actually have to go to work, let us all be grateful that we haven’t really caught the virus and we still have means of income.
Now is not the time to be complaining how life is hard and we can’t fully adjust to the new normal. The bottom line is: we have to–until this pandemic completely goes away. Remember: everyone is doing the best that they can on their end. So should you! We’re all in this together.