Beautiful aerial view of Chicago’s skyscrapers that house many offices.

COVID-19 has probably been the most profound disease in our lifetime in terms of social and employment consequences. Shortly, it will be two (2) years since the corona virus arrived at Stateside and positivity rates continue to rise. We are currently bracing for a horrible winter surge. Even though we have safe and highly effective vaccines and great public health safety practices, there have been vicious pushback and hateful resistance to every scientific measure designed and proven capable of ending this pandemic.

Due to political pushback against vaccinations and masking, the pandemic will remain active and continue longer than expected. Unvaccinated individuals who refuse to comply with mask mandates have made it impossible for work offices to re-open and office buildings, skyscrapers will remain essentially empty.

Historic Workplace Problems in the Public Sector

Consequently, for most businesses to survive, work-from-home and remote work options must be effectively designed, monitored for productivity, and evaluated for success.  Actually, this work option should have been appraised as early as 1995 with the introduction of Windows95 and the personal computer.

When I worked in the public sector, I had assignments that required the use of a pc. In almost all instances I did not have a pc at work, but I had a full computer system at home. So, for many years my supervisor and I worked out effective arrangements for hours worked from home.   

Without details, my office workplace experience in the public sector was a disgrace.  But, a remote-work from home situation would have been ideal in many instances.

Improved Office Experiences in the Private Sector

When I started working in the private sector, my working situation was much better and well organized. However, as I reflect, about 75% of my work could have been done remotely from home. Anyway, I always had nice offices in the private sector… and I served my employers well.  No kidding. Here are some nice photos with comments.

Workplace Designs up to 2019

This is now history. Risks of COVID outbreaks too high. There are too many awful variables. This type of “communal” workplace will never happen again.

Arrival of the Corona Virus at Stateside

In 2020 I was teaching nursing at the baccalaureate level AND I was also working remotely for an out of state association.  I carefully watched arrival of the corona virus to Stateside. February 2020 abruptly ended in-person work because of the deadly virus. The “lockdown”, “shelter-in-place” caught businesses off guard.  Everything shut down.  This resulted in the start of the paradigm change.

2022 – The New Paradigm

Today, workers are refusing to return to the traditional office.  It is too dangerous. Folks continue to refuse vaccinations and will not mask.  So, it is my belief that large workplace offices will never reopen.  Too bad office buildings and skyscrapers will remain unoccupied and will go to waste.  I do not know what the future holds but it is a bleak future for large offices.  “Ain’t happening ever again.”  It is too risky for COVID outbreaks to occur in offices.

The challenges for HR talent officers, administrators and stakeholders are to analyze productive, implement remote options and evaluate quality outcomes for success.  It can be done!