The Post-Pandemic Work Environment

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Headshot of Bob Patience.

Bob Patience  VP, Strategic Partnerships

After experiencing prolonged lockdowns and other measures aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus, businesses across the country are starting to get back to work. For many, the workplace will seem quite different from before the pandemic.

The pandemic has led to an evolution of employee and customer expectations. Business owners who are willing to tweak their traditional work processes will be better able to recruit and retain good workers and foster goodwill among customers and employees.

To be prepared for success in a new, post-pandemic world, small and medium businesses can consider a variety of steps to build stronger, more resilient workplaces.

Increase focus on worker health and safety

The pandemic has quickly shifted the way we view health and safety at the workplace. Ensuring your employees are protected and comfortable returning to work is paramount. As we look to return to in-person work, it is important for business owners to re-evaluate their workplace benefits. Employee needs are evolving, and addressing constraints like child-care and sick leave is crucial.1

Provide new options for remote work

Mandatory closures have demonstrated that many workers have the ability to work successfully from home and that remote workers and teams can be extremely productive with the use of cloud-based tools. By allowing workers to continue working from home, companies can cut costs on real estate and keep their employees safer and healthier.

Be Flexible

Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many business. As many businesses look to return to in-person, it is important to accommodate employee preferences, like different hours or remote work, if possible.2 Other options include work from home days, flextime, or a compressed workweek.3

In hybrid environments, ensuring you have the appropriate technology solutions for collaboration is essential. Nearly half of CEO's say they plan to increase their spending on digital transformation by 10% or more.4

Offer additional support for frontline workers

In recent years, many companies have focused on decreasing the cost and compensation of their frontline employees, but the pandemic has highlighted the value provided by these workers. Cashiers, delivery drivers, shelf stockers and warehouse workers made it possible for the rest of the country to stay safely at home.5

The country's newfound appreciation for frontline workers is driving changes in working conditions for many of them. For instance, big companies, including Walmart, Amazon, Costco and starbucks, have increased wages, made shifts more flexible, offered greater educational opportunities, and provided financial assistance for college. Small and medium businesses that rely on hourly workers to succeed should consider ways to support their employees outside of the basic benefits like healthcare and dental. Employees are looking for more like child care, paid-time off nd education assistance.6

Adapting to the new normal

The coronavirus pandemic may have created a world that would have been unrecognizable a few years ago. But with creativity, flexibility, and a healthy dose of compassion for workers and their families, businesses can build workplaces that adapt to these new realities and expectations and prepare for a brighter future.

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About the author

Bob Patience

Bob Patience is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at New York Life.  Bob previously served as Head of Business Solutions, where he oversaw our employee benefits business, including our payroll deducted individual life products and our group life and disability offerings.  In Bob’s four years with Business Solutions, we launched our group offerings, re-priced and redesigned our individual products, and re-positioned the business to support our agents by focusing on the financial needs of small businesses, their owners and their employees. Bob also led a number of work streams related to NYL’s acquisition of Cigna Group Insurance.  Before coming to New York Life, Bob spent 30 years with Prudential, where he held a variety of product, underwriting, segment head, and technology leadership positions.  Immediately before coming to NY Life, he was the P&L owner of Prudential’s $3 billion block of group life and voluntary benefits business.  Bob has a BA from Colby College in Maine and a Masters in Business Administration from New Jersey’s Montclair State University.

This article is provided only for general informational purposes and is not directed toward any particular business or location. Business owners should consult with legal counsel or other knowledgeable advisors on governmental requirements and best practices before taking any action regarding this material.


1Katherine J. Igoe, "How COVID-19 Has Changed the Standard Worker Safety and Heath - and How Organizations Can Adapt", March 31, 2021.

2Deep Patel, "11 Proven Young Ways Entrepreneurs Can Retain Talent," Entrepreneur, Nov. 7, 2018.

3Robert Half, "14 Effective Employee Retention Strategies," Robert Half Talent Solutions, April 30, 2021.

4Maria Castañón Moats, Paul DeNicola, "Future of Work: What Boards should be thinking about", PWC.

5Bill George, "The coronavirus pandemic is changing work forever," Fortune, April 10, 2020.

6Yaarit Silverstone, "5 ways to attract and keep frontline workers", Accenture November 29, 2021.

This material is provided for informational purposes only. New York Life Insurance Company, its agents and employees may not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Individuals should consult their own professional advisors before implementing any planning strategies. © 2020 New York Life Insurance Company. All rights reserved.