COVID-19 changed the way we all work – and for many, it’s been good and even equitable

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a seismic shift in the world of work, redefining traditional paradigms and accelerating trends that were once on the horizon. This is especially true for the legal market. As the global workforce faced lockdowns, remote work became not just a perk, but a necessity. This sudden transition showcased the adaptability of businesses and employees alike, altering the landscape of work in profound ways.

Remote work, once looked upon as an option reserved for women who were “less dedicated” to their careers, has become a mainstream practice. As organizations were forced to adopt virtual collaboration tools they changed the dynamics of team interactions and productivity.

This shift undoubtedly affirmed what many of us already knew – work from home does not mean less productive or less dedicated. At the same time, the concept of the 9-to-5 workday blurred as we all juggled personal and professional responsibilities amidst the confines of our homes.

Moreover, mental health and well-being took center stage. Employers recognized the significance of supporting their employees’ emotional and mental wellness in the face of uncertainty. Flexibility, once seen as a perk, became a crucial component of a compassionate work environment. And time away from the office became something mandated as opposed to something requested. Virtual team-building activities, mindfulness sessions, and open conversations about mental health became integral to sustaining a connected and resilient workforce.

On a broader scale, the pandemic has prompted reflections on the purpose of work itself. Many individuals reassessed their career paths, seeking professions that aligned with their passions and values, often discovering that they can and are happy to do with less in exchange for more time away from the office. Ultimately, this global upheaval prompted a reconsideration of the essence of work itself – not just as a means of livelihood, but as a vehicle for personal fulfillment and societal progress.

As the COVID-19 pandemic abates, and society settles back into its new norm, one thing is clear – the pandemic has changed the world of work. Days are filled with video conferences instead of phone calls. Meetings that once demanded participants get on planes take place remotely. And, women, more specifically mothers, who historically were the primary consumers of flexible work arrangements, are joined by workers of all gender, marital and parental status. Gone are the days of those working remotely being equated to those who are less dedicated to their craft. It’s been replaced by a work environment that allows all employees to meet personal and professional needs.