One thing is certain: Office environments will need to radically change before workers can return safely. Open-plan offices will need to be, well, more closed up and hot-desking (one of the worst ideas of all time in any case) will be a true no-no. The aftermath of the pandemic will also mean the disappearance of several types of co-worker behaviors that were annoying in the past but will now be unacceptably toxic.
1. Close Talking
Sometimes customers (or colleagues and partners) get right in your face as they talk to you, moving closer and closer, until you can smell what they ate for lunch or, worse, feel their spittle hit your face. It's incredibly annoying but you can't say anything because, well, the customer is always right. Once we all get back to the office, close talkers will keep their distance and hopefully be wearing masks as well.
Employees who come to work while ill has always been a management problem. On the one hand, you don't want employees to goof off by pretending illness, but on the other hand, you don't want them infecting everyone else in the office. Bosses must now insist that employees work from home, or just stay away altogether if they're sniffling, coughing, or sneezing.
3. Business Hugging
In some industries and countries, a mere handshake is considered the cold shoulder in business situations, so instead you must embrace and either air kiss or, worse, actually give the other person a peck on the cheek. It need hardly be said that nobody will making this move for some time to come, if ever again.
4. The Vice Grip
You run into these guys (and they're always guys) mostly inside sales teams. These buffoons amp a firm handshake into what feels like a prelude to arm-wrestling. If your hand gets crushed, well, that's just collateral damage. And of course you can't complain if it's a customer, investor, or some other VIP. Now that handshaking is extinct, nobody will be forced to grin and bear it.
5. Raiders of the Office Fridge