Updated: Sep 16, 2020
COVID - 19 has been a testing time for humanity. Our health, freedom and livelihood have all been threatened. This channels deep into the bottom end of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The one word that keeps coming to mind is resilience. How will people cope without freedom, bereavement, loss of income, job and purpose. For some normality will return but for others the change will be permanent. Retail, travel and events business will face some stark choices right now. But the thing that we do as humans is innovate. Life is not business as usual and as parts of life slow down change will happen at a faster pace than ever.
The office seems like it is very out of fashion but speaking to Fintech businesses and Pharmaceutical companies teams are keen to get back together. Teams and Zoom are not the same and from a personal perspective have been over utilised during the pandemic. Sending me a WebEx invite when I have never spoken to you before seems a little forward but maybe it is something that is just the way of working.
I remember speaking to Kevin Green asking him for a book recommendation he said The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here. That book had at the time some crazy almost Star Trek with virtual assistants scheduling programs of work and global collaboration around developing new innovations. Working virtually would be the norm. This sounds great but for most the office is part of the culture and I
have heard on the radio people talking about how great it is having time on Teams, Zoom or Hangouts and how this is bringing people together. I say relationships forged through face to face contact and as humans we crave it. I have worked from home for a number of years and it can be lonely at times.
I have hired five people since April and we have agreed that we need the face to face time and time to work from home. Sometimes to get things done faster and agree the trust and commitment you get in team meetings can’t be replaced virtually yet.
For those with big empty offices think forwards not backwards, reflect to understand what is happening right now, don’t just freeze. You don’t need to do it the same way you have always done it, it would be prudent to listen to your staff and not make any rash decisions but ultimately the business and market will define what people want and need.