As the country opens up to get back to work—for now—Americans are adjusting to their new workday, reports Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, (WTI) the futures think tank and innovation unit at Wunderman Thompson.

For many, WTI says, COVID-19 has radically changed the topography of a typical workday. And while businesses in many states have just or are starting to reopen, WTI says, “it’s unlikely that the workday is going to snap back to the way it was pre-pandemic. The corporate world is looking to a new future—one with a new commute, office space and schedule.”

One reason for this is numerous employers and employees are worried about commuting on public transportation, as the number of coronavirus cases seems to be spiking in numerous states.

As a solution, some companies are going virtual—permanently. Most of us have heard that companies like Twitter, Square and Facebook are doing that. TWI cites Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke’s tweet announcing, “Office centricity is over.” And that Shopify was going “digital by default…The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup.”

Work schedules, too, are being rethought. The Prime Minister of New Zealand has suggested that a 4-day work week could be the way forward. No matter how many days people need to work, WTI suggests, “The new workday will be about flexibility—going into the office when it’s necessary, not as a matter of course, with working hours shifting as daily schedules become less linear.”

We can’t shrug and wish COVID-19 away. You need to start thinking about how your small business can become a workplace of the future? Can you transform into a virtual company? Are you comfortable with that? If not, why not? If you expect people to come into an office, how will you maintain proper social distancing? How will your employees get to work? What about business travel.

So many questions, I know, without a lot of answers. But you need to formulate a strategy that protects you, your staff and your small business.

Virtual meeting stock photo by Nattakorn_Maneerat/Shutterstock