There is no doubt that the state of the world for the last month and a half has been historic. From fluctuations in the economy to altered social norms to unexpected business adaptations, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented society with unprecedented challenges and changes that could have never been predicted. Returning to normal life is a goal we can all agree on, but what will we define as “normal,” post pandemic?

With states beginning to make plans to lift stay-at-home orders and reopen non-essential businesses, all businesses should prepare to operate within the new norm. Here are a few things to expect as your business begins to return to normal.

Face-to-face interactions

Eventually, the events and services that have been closed for the past few months will return to regular operations. Concerts and sporting events will resume, movie theaters and restaurants will reopen, and conventions and conferences for all industries will be scheduled again. However, people will be hesitant to return to regular social norms. People will likely continue to avoid large crowds or public spaces for a while due to the fear of another surge. Handshakes and embracing will become rarer as people worry about spreading germs or disease.

Even if your business plans to return to a regular, in-person work environment, you should expect to rely on virtual communication with clients and customers in the post-pandemic world. Software and online platforms that have become widely used during the pandemic, like Zoom and Google Hangouts, may continue to be essential tools for communicating and connecting with employees, clients, and customers.

Flexible schedules and remote work management

One key takeaway from the effect that the coronavirus pandemic has had on office environments is that employers may now be rethinking the way the workplace runs. With thousands of businesses transitioning into remote work during the pandemic, many have realized the benefits that come with it. Reduced costs may be one of the biggest aspects many companies are considering while planning the transition back to regular work. With the possibility of saving hundreds to thousands of dollars on office space costs like rent, utilities, equipment, supplies, and other small but necessary fees that quickly add up, it is not surprising that many are considering moving to a remote work environment as a permanent solution post-pandemic. Employees can save time and money by cutting out a daily commute, and countless resources allow employers to delegate and manage responsibilities to employees remotely.

However, transitioning to remote work as a permanent solution comes with challenges as well. There are numerous positions that do not allow for effective work in a remote environment, like many human resources or sales jobs. Due to the face-to-face nature of these roles, working from home may prove difficult and ineffective. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of remote work for every position at your company before making a permanent decision after the pandemic.

Re-evaluation of business strategies

Along with the many benefits of moving to a remote work environment as a permanent solution is the opportunity to expand your talent pool when hiring. With remote work, businesses are not limited to specific geographic locations when searching for diverse individuals to add to the team. There are no limitations caused by commutes or expectations to relocate, as employers are able to hire skilled employees from across the globe.

While expanding your talent pool may be a valuable upgrade for your company post pandemic, doing the opposite may be beneficial as well. Many companies have been forced to furlough employees, as business operations have slowed during the pandemic. It is also true that many businesses are finding that a number of these positions are unnecessary for successful operations at all. While many people may lose their jobs due to these realizations, small businesses have an opportunity to cut payroll expenses and encourage long-term growth when downsizing.

Some aspects of society may return to the “normal” that we were used to only a few months ago, such as the freedom to gather in public at restaurants, movie theaters, and other social venues. However, there’s no doubt that we can expect a shift in attitude toward the way humans interact, due to our experiences throughout the social distancing regulations brought about by the pandemic, and businesses will have no choice but to adapt. There will be challenges, and there will be benefits; having a plan in place to face any situation is the key to ongoing success in the post-pandemic world.