In the midst of this Coronavirus (COVID-19) disruption to our lives and businesses, if you’re anything like me, you are wondering how long until we get back to “normal”? I long for the days of seeing my teams gathered around a conference room table, collaborating on a new idea or discussing an upcoming project. I want to be able to grab lunch with a co-worker and connect face-to-face. I want to sit down in my office for a one-to-one with a direct report, instead of using video conferencing to discuss our goals for the month. Don’t you?
COVID-19 Work from Home Impact
While I long to go back to “normal,” I also realize that we’re likely a long way off. I believe we are entering a new era, a new normal. Prior to the pandemic and the shutdowns, the workforce was geographically diverse —some people were already working from home, while others were entirely in the office. COVID-19 is going to drive the work from home trend at a faster pace than ever before. The push from employees to have the flexibility to work however they need to achieve a better work-life balance was loud and clear before, and now ready or not, they are getting the chance to prove this can work.
Once the process and technology is in place for your business, it will be hard to ignore the fact it is entirely possible for your team to work outside the office when needed. Your team will now know if they can be productive outside the office. According to Buffer’s The 2020 State of Remote Work, 98 percent of remote workers want to continue to work remotely (at least for some of the time) for the rest of their careers once they’ve gotten the chance to try it. That’s a lot of people that are going to want the opportunity to work from home.
Hybrid Teams: Achieving a Work from Home Balance
While I don’t think work from home will become a permanent status for everyone, the new normal will certainly allow for more of it and will dictate a need to be more flexible to accommodate it, a hybrid so to speak.
The new standard is going to change the face of businesses. It will impact everything down to the way business owners and managers hire talent. It’s going to mean getting comfortable hiring people with the intention of them solely working from home. Imagine the process of hiring for a project manager, a position we usually hire to be in office. With this new normal, we now have the ability to hire the very best, even if they don’t live in our city. I don’t know about you, but that’s a game changer for my company.
With this new normal upon us, are you ready? Are your conference rooms and meeting spaces able to include this new set of remote workers? You have no doubt begun to leverage soft conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams or Zoom to connect while you’ve all been working from home. How will the tools you’ve been using continue to work as some team members return to the office? Will you be able to conduct a meeting that is truly collaborative with some of your team remote and others at your conference room table? What’s the experience like for the remote attendee and will your existing technology get in the way of communication?
As you begin to consider these questions and more, don’t wait until the stay-at-home orders have been lifted and some folks slowly start migrating back to the office. Leverage your downtime. Take advantage of this time, now, while your offices are a little less busy with people, to upgrade your meeting spaces. Enable collaboration, enable your meeting spaces, enable your people to connect no matter where they are and to connect effectively.
If the thought of this overwhelms you, don’t worry! This is our passion. We absolutely love to help businesses solve these kinds of problems and transform the way you communicate and collaborate through technology solutions that don’t get in the way but increase productivity and effectiveness.
The new normal is here. Are you ready for it?