Impact of COVID-19 on Modern Workplace


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a profound impact on all aspects of society. The measures introduced by governments around the world to combat the spread of the pandemic substantially affected the work landscape, forcing the majority of business ventures to opt for remote work to comply with new requirements. The organizations and individual employees that faced the new working conditions experienced both positive and negative aspects of the new working conditions that can largely be explained by a variety of factors and business conditions. This paper will address and examine the shift to remote work from the perspective of the type and scale of change as well as the external driving forces behind it.

Type of the Change

The COVID-19 pandemic forced change on numerous business ventures and other organizations, including those run by the government. Due to the nature of the pandemic, it can be argued that the shift to remote working is an example of the emergent approach to change. The approach is based on the notion that change is constant and the existing circumstances need careful and constant examination and consideration in order to respond to them timely and appropriately (Rowland, Casimir and Pivcevic 2022). The emergent approach can be viewed as the process of surrendering control and expectations and responding to the current situation and the demands of the moment (Rowland, Casimir and Pivcevic 2022). Unlike the rational approach to change, the emergent approach operates in an environment wherein either external or internal predictability is low (Apte, Lele and Choudhari 2022). The COVID-19 experience was novel and was accompanied by uncertainty about the overall duration of the pandemic and the frequent change in the measures aimed at stopping the spread of the virus. Therefore, the external predictability pertaining to the response to the pandemic and its workplace impact was comparatively low.

Size and Scale of the Change

The onset, the unprecedented fast spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the responses of the government to the virus were a highly unpredictable chain of events. These events can be viewed as a radical change as they occurred fast and impacted the majority of social structures on a profound level. In response, radical changes occurred concurrently in a variety of fields, including health care, industry, and business, causing substantial structural changes within them. In business, radical change can be described as a rapid and instantaneous shift in the strategic operation of a company, its organizational activities, and other aspects, including products, ways of competing, and target markets (Jarzabkowski, Lê and Balogun 2019). Considering the speed, scale, and structural nature of the shift, the transition to working from home instead an office can be considered a radical change. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic should be deemed a unique case of a major force triggering numerous radical changes, with the work landscape being affected on a global scale (van Zoonen et al. 2021). Overall, the change under review is radical as it occurred due to unpredictable forces larger than any individual market.

External Driving Forces

Political Factors

Political factors play a meaningful role in the economic life of any nation. The government continuously intervenes in the economy and other aspects of the country by introducing different laws and regulations in order to ensure the stability of the state and the well-being of the citizenry. One of the primary measures implemented to limit the spread of the coronavirus was mobility reduction and restriction, as well as the constraints on the number of persons allowed to socialize (Ehlert and Wedemeier 2022). In the United States, mobility restrictions vary throughout the states, with individual compliance with the regulations differing as well (Charoenwong, Kwan and Pursiainen 2020). Different business ventures chose to shift to remote work to comply with the restrictions on movement and the number of people allowed to be on any given premises simultaneously (Mueller-Langer and Gómez-Herrera 2021). It should be noted that not all organizations could allow their employees to work remotely due to the nature of the work. However, some restrictions were imposed on them to ensure safety precautions were taken. Overall, the radical change of switching to remote work was influenced substantially by political factors.

Economic Factors

Economic factors contributed to the decision to shift to remote work in business ventures that could afford to allow the employees to work from home without the company being jeopardized. The limit in the activity of numerous business ventures could have had a disastrous impact on the global economy and caused a prolonged depression and subsequent collapse. The nature of the economies of developed countries should be taken into consideration when discussing the radical shift to remote work. The contemporary economies of the United States and other developed countries rely primarily on banking, finance, and software development (Amankwah-Amoah et al. 2021). Therefore, the halt in these sectors would adversely affect the economic life of these countries. Furthermore, the nature of the sectors lends itself to a substantial degree of remote working (Amankwah-Amoah et al. 2021). Meanwhile, the sectors such as farming, manufacturing, and health care, among others, were forced to deliver services and perform face to face, with numerous safety precautions being instituted.

Sociocultural Forces

Sociocultural forces contributed to numerous changes different societies underwent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Assumptions of social norms, values, beliefs, and ideologies are inherent sociocultural factors that need to be considered in the shift to remote work (Perez-Cepeda and Arias-Bolzmann 2022). The last few decades have been characterized by accelerated technological development that highlighted the role of digital technology as a dominant force in society. The availability of technology translated into the extensive use of digital tools, flexible working, remote working, and autonomy of employees being considered a sociocultural norm in developed countries (Soga et al. 2022). Furthermore, a common belief appeared that people should be able to choose their work mode and work from home. In addition, the notion of home and work-home function changed due to the rise of opportunities for remote work (Soga et al. 2022). Overall, technological development contributed to significant social changes taking place (Malti 2020). Therefore, after the pandemic-related mobility restrictions were introduced, different business ventures and their employees widely accepted the choice of remote working.

Technological Development

Technological development can be considered one of the primary factors that have contributed to the radical shift to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Modern technology allows for a variety of processes and communications to take place online or through the use of digital tools (Amankwah-Amoah et al. 2021). The availability of different tools and devices that allow people to communicate with each other, share files, and even work together in shared online spaces fosters remote work. In addition, secure internal network platforms allow users to share sensitive data discreetly, ensuring the company’s interests are protected (Wong, Cheung and Chen 2020). During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies decided to purchase IT equipment and install the needed software to facilitate work from home by lending out the equipment to the employees (Wong, Cheung and Chen 2020). It can be argued that the modern technologies, hardware and software included, contributed to a successful shift to remote working, as without it, such a change would have been technologically impossible.

The Emergence of New Knowledge

Several factors contributed to the radical transition to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new and existing knowledge on organizational structure, behavior, and management allowed for an effective shift to remote working. In particular, the change management approach to the organizational changes translated into a successful transition to the new working mode (Choflet et al. 2021; Mercedes and Burrell 2021). It should be noted that the pandemic and the new work environment contributed to the rise of new managerial knowledge and approaches to remote employment (Apte 2021). Overall, the ever-evolving field of management knowledge played a meaningful role in the radical shift to remote work.


In summary, the COVID-19 pandemic had an overwhelming impact on all aspects of life, including the work landscape. The shift to the remote working mode is an example of an emergent approach to change and a radical change, as it occurred as a response to an unpredicted global event. The transition to remote work was made possible by several factors, including the political and economic necessity, the acceptability of working from home as a sociocultural norm, as well as rapid technological development, and new managerial knowledge.


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