Saikiran Bomma on What a Return to Work Will Look Like After the Pandemic

Just as everyone is getting somewhat used to the new normal of life under COVID-19, employees are starting to wonder what work will look like after the pandemic. Whether you liked working from home or not, that long hiatus from the office must have had an impact on your work life and daily routines. So, you must be wondering what changes a return to work will have on your life in 2021.

Saikiran Bomma is an anthropology student and a recent graduate from Penn State University. Having spent the last year of her undergraduate studies coping with the realities of being a student during a global pandemic, Saikiran from Fairfield County, Connecticut, has seen the impact the pandemic has had on American students. And with people expected to return to work, will the workplace be the same or different?

Safety First

The coronavirus pandemic has made such recommendations as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing mandatory. Even with more and more people getting the COVID-19 vaccine, safety at the office will remain a top priority. According to Saikiran Bomma, employees are the backbone of every industry and every business will have to take steps to safeguard and protect the staff.

This will require new protocols in place to ensure the safety of the workers during operation hours. Some of these protocols may have to do with the schedule and placement of the different team members inside every department, office, or factory. As restrictions ease and people are allowed to go back to work, new sanitization plans that include guidelines for personal protective gear and deep cleaning of the workstations will come into effect.

Mission-Critical Employees

Naturally, not all employees will have to return to work at the same time. Based on the new safety protocols and guidelines put out by every state, the company will have to decide on who needs to come back to the office and who could continue to work from home for the time being. Those whose presence at the factory or distribution center is required are usually mission-critical employees.

The way Saikiran Bomma sees it, this category of workers differs from one industry to the next and it’s up to the management to determine these essential roles and who should go back to the office immediately.

Time to Adapt

If the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the workplace lies squarely on the management, the employees will also need to adapt to what Kiran Bomma calls the new ‘new normal.’ Not all plans go smoothly without a hitch. And the success of those meticulously laid out plans depends on the attitudes and cooperation of the workers.

Due to the high infection rates of COVID-19, employees will have to change their work habits and take the new regulations seriously. It’s not just their own health and safety that’s on the line, but also that of their teammates and coworkers.

Changes at the Workplace

A return to work at the office or workstation will certainly be different from what it was before people started working from home. The layout of the office will most likely be different. Since the rules of social distancing have to be maintained, you might find that your shift schedule and even the physical location of your desk have changed. These changes will certainly take some time for people to get used to, especially for people who got accustomed to working remotely. But with the right strategy, management can help employees accept the changes at the workplace as necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of the workforce, says Kiran Bomma.

Saikiran Bomma is an anthropology major and recent graduate from Penn State University.