COVID 19 has impacted all the spheres of public life. The scale of the COVID 19 pandemic is such that many of its aftershocks are yet to be felt. The outbreak of this lethal disease might not have completely crippled our society. However, it has caused enough disruption in our lives to make drastic changes in the way we live our lives. The impact of the pandemic is not completely devastating. In fact, it has created necessities for technological advancement and the development of a new perspective on life.
One of the biggest apparent impacts has been on the businesses that operate worldwide. As businesses had to deal with the risk of human contact and subsequent contamination, offices remained shut. Work kept going behind the scenes, in front of screens. However, work from home is only the tip of what the modern working individual has to adapt to in a world perpetually touched by the COVID 19 virus. Our world and our time in this globe are defined today by the era of pre covid, COVID, and post COVID. While we fight the different strains of the virus to the best of our abilities, we are preparing for the post COVID era.
The post COVID era is one where every action taken by us is a result of an experience we link to the COVID era. For example, work from home schedules are here to stay and will be part of work flexibility in the future. Similarly, while people are gearing up to return to offices, the traditional offices will change drastically. It is not just the social distancing norms that will change the way employees interact with each other. Additionally, the whole office culture will be in for an overhaul.
Office lunches are an integral part of employee relationship building and teamwork in the office. The COVID 19 pandemic will change how employees interact and bond with each other during the office lunch break. The post-pandemic phase will also see a notable shift towards healthy eating habits. These eating habits will also reflect in the office lunches of employees. Not just the working spaces, but the cafeteria is also in for a makeover. The rules, regulations, and functions will change as people return to the office. Active steps to create a COVID 19 free bubble for the employees are on the cards for every organization. The cafeteria cannot be exempt from the same.
Here are the few changes that people will see in office cafeterias and office lunches in the post COVID era-
One good thing that the COVID 19 pandemic did was making us conscious about health. We have grown accustomed to eating home-cooked food to avoid contamination from foreign sources. This consciousness will carry over to the post-pandemic phase. People will tend to eat healthy food over processed and fast food. This consciousness is not only a result of our paranoia over the virus. In fact, this is a result of a growing knowledge of self-care.
This one is a very simple and predictable one. There is an inherent fear of contamination around the virus. Since the COVID 19 strain is a virus, it is highly infectious. There is paranoia around everything shared because of this. Where there is a fear of shared space, an aversion towards shared food is also present. This bears a contrast from the pre-COVID era when people used to sit down on big benches and share food with each other.
Today, employees are encouraged to eat their food at their own workstations to avoid any kind of shared interaction that might lead to infection. Some cafeterias simply have social distancing applied at tables. On the other hand, some cafeterias offer the option of closed seating that prohibits interaction between people while eating.
Due to COVID 19, contactless is the new normal in the post-pandemic era. From contactless payments to contactless food vending, there are many applications of contactless technology. Just like in schools, offices also prefer contactless food vending options to provide employees with food. This minimizes the contact possibility between people.
This, in turn, reduces the possibility of person-to-person infection. Contactless food vending options provide people with choices and are easy to use. The smart technology of contactless food vending makes an office cafeteria well managed and organized. In the post-pandemic phase, people will prefer contactless food vending machines for ease of access, ease of consumption, and hygiene.
An office cafeteria is usually a place where employees take a break and can comfortably interact. It is a space where they do not have to worry about work or other things and just focus on food and fun. This will change to an extent in the post-pandemic period. The virus has made cafeteria and otherwise shared spaces potential hotspots of infection.
Since every office has to maintain a certain level of strict guidelines to ensure that the space is free from the virus, monitoring will be of importance in the office. Temperature checks before entering the cafeteria, monitoring of the crowd, and its control will be normal. As monitoring and surveillance go up, the importance of the office cafeteria as a space of leisure will go down.
The truth is that humans cannot live their lives without building relationships. Humans seek social interactions and equations. Therefore, it is not right to dismiss the office cafeteria as a socially shared space completely. The office cafeteria and office lunches may never go back to their pre-COVID state. However, employees will adapt to the present scenario and find a way of interacting with each other. All this will happen while avoiding potential COVID 19 infection. Thus, office lunches will remain eventful and social, but individual care and precautions will always cast a protective shadow on them.
Article Posted In: Post-Covid Lunch