How Covid Has Shaped The Workplace

As the dust begins to settle on what has been two of the most surreal years of our lives, the effects of the pandemic are still reverberating around in almost all aspects of our working lives.

The pandemic made us re-evaluate the traditional workplace norms and has helped us to consider our workplace habits.

As well as this, it’s changed the way businesses operate. Gone are the days of solely using ‘traditional methods’. Marketing strategies and communication methods have seen a dramatic shift to online. For example, in our sector of procurement, many would never have entertained the idea of finding their customers and carrying out their business purchasing online, but are now utilising online platforms as their primary method.

Working From Home

Despite the UK Government repealing its advice to work from home almost two months ago, data from the Office of National Statistics has shown that 36% of adults are still working from home at least one day a week.

When you delve further into the statistics, it’s easy to see why many have been reluctant to return to the office. 46% of people in the UK who worked remotely in January 2022 said they’d spent less as a result of working from home. These costs include fuel, parking, and for us here at Applegate, the coffee run!

There have also been many claims that working from home is the more sustainable option. Which makes sense, right? Realistically, it’s not that simple.

The WSP’s calculations show that working from home rather than the office during the summer saves around 400kg of carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of 5% of a typical British commuter’s annual carbon footprint. However, this is only a seasonal benefit.

As we’re all aware it gets just a tad cold in Britain during the winter. Most heating systems in Britain heat the whole house, which produces far more carbon emissions than what would be expended from the commute.

For the working population, working from home has, overall, been a positive. It’s helped many to improve their work/life balance by removing commutes and helping employees spend more time with their loved ones.

The Move To Online

Enabling staff to work from home also means investing in the right technology to ensure both onsite and remote colleagues can continue to work collaboratively, wherever they are. Working remotely has seen the rise of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which are now household names in offices across the UK and beyond.

The onset of the pandemic put a halt on trade shows, which has impacted a number of key sectors including engineering, print, freight, and more. Many businesses traditionally used trade shows as a method of networking and building long-term business relationships with like-minded individuals.

Exhibitions have consistently proven to be a great route for acquiring new business, and despite seeing these in-person events returning in the past few months, there are doubts over the future of trade shows. The suspension of these vital networking events saw companies seek alternative routes for their marketing. A popular alternative is the online business-to-business marketplace model.

The B2B marketplace model, as we have here at Applegate Marketplace, enables suppliers to access quotes from businesses that require a service or product. It’s free for buyers to submit a request for quotation, and this request is then made available to suppliers who pay a fixed annual fee to appear on the platform. Applegate takes no cut from business earned by suppliers, which has made the platform very popular in a range of sectors.

The shift to online has seen 88% of B2B decision-makers saying they are likely to maintain working online or remotely in a post COVID world. Businesses are becoming more technologically advanced, investing in more slick and professional marketing efforts such as analysing and improving their PPC and SEO, as well as building on their social media presence.

With the lack of in-person networking events, businesses turned their attitudes to meeting new contacts and networking through social media. Here at Applegate, we recently hosted an online webinar alongside our official European partners, Europages.


Running and attending such events as the above and our SupplyDevon community wealth-building networking event back in June 2021 have been massively beneficial for all involved. Despite in-person events now resuming, the efficiency, simplicity, and cost-effectiveness of online events will likely see them continue well into the future.

Hygiene and The PPE Sector

As a B2B marketplace ourselves, the shift to online has not only expanded existing sectors, but it’s also created a whole new sector, in personal protective equipment.

The PPE sector boomed at the start of the pandemic, and unfortunately, many who entered this sector were simply looking to profit from the pandemic and make a quick buck without setting up a legitimate business. At Applegate, we set up a COVID-19 Hub which was a free, not-for-profit initiative that allowed buyers and suppliers to supply PPE. We are proud to have helped deliver over one billion items of PPE during the first few months of the pandemic.

With the infrastructure of working from home now being tried, tested, and approved, the idea of struggling to get up and force yourself into the office with the sniffles or a cough looks like a distant memory. Many businesses have adopted an approach that is much more relaxed, and mindful of the colleague’s best interests.

There are many more aspects of working life that COVID has shaped that we haven’t even touched on. So, are these changes are for the better or worse? That answer is subjective to each person’s own opinion. What COVID has definitely done, is help us to assess what was working well and what could be improved. It helped us to remove a lot of archaic traditions, bringing businesses into the 21st century, and helping them to practice modern technologies.

What do you think about how COVID has shaped the workplace? Let us know in the comments below or via our social media channels.

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