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How Covid-19 is shifting the way we do business moving forward
In Florida, the state is slowly opening. We are at week 8 of social distancing at RSG and plan to share our office again next week. We are fortunate to have 10+ feet of space around each cubicle so going back is not overly complicated.
These last few weeks, we have talked to companies around the country as they shift their focus to the future state of work and how it may evolve. Here are some pointers and opinions on what the future may hold:
- Virtual work is here to stay. How to safely return workers to work in an office setting. The timeline of returning and the intent of staggering workforce to allow safe distancing is the dilemma. Across the board, companies are planning on allowing employees who can work from home to continue that indefinitely. But is productivity suffering? Not from what I am hearing. If people were productive before they went home to work, they are still productive.
- A shift in commercial real estate. As companies look at cutting overhead, they are re-evaluating their office space. For example, if one third of employees are able and willing to work from home, paying rent for a smaller office becomes very appealing. And with Covid19 mandating changes in shared spaces, cafeterias and break rooms become a new concern. The look of future offices will evolve.
- Business travel will be an exception not the rule. Remote access, Cloud, video chats and teaming tools have revolutionized work with the Covid19 pandemic. Instead of spending a day in a plane or car and racking up hotel points, companies are finding they can still have facetime with customers and be home for dinner. Biz travel will return but it will be gradual and re-evaluated on what is essential and what is not.
- Alternative work arrangements. I have not thought thru all the options on this, but job sharing, alternative shifts/days and potential changes in schooling and/or childcare will probably drive new project focused work and solution-based technology in the future.
- Untapped E-Distance Learning. Although most everyone has been using technology to drive learning, I think we have just begun the journey. Video tours of facilities, interactive meet and greets, interviews, onboarding plans and executive coaching sessions will soon become the norm. Learning and development was already a hot area in the market, but moving forward, Virtual Reality may take off in directions we have not thought about yet.
- New jobs, new focus. Has anyone hired a Covid Compliance Officer yet? I would like to know. HR has been on the frontlines of how to shift “people strategy” in this turbulent time, but will we see new roles evolve out of this as OSHA and other regulatory bodies set new standards? Ergonomics, industrial engineering, safety, interior design, telehealth, etc. Once we are past the immediate crisis, innovation will hopefully solve many of the day to day issues.
- Bring vital manufacturing back to the US. Until these past few months, I was unaware that most of our active pharmaceutical ingredients as well as PPE and other vital medical equipment was sourced and supplied from Asia. If this crisis has not shown us the importance of being able to be self-reliant as a country, nothing will.
- A new definition of work/life balance. As we see the market moving toward remote working from home full time, the new challenge becomes how to turn off family when it’s time to work and how to turn off work when it’s time to connect with the family. How we define work/life balance as we have all experienced getting stir crazy these past weeks, is certainly going to shift.
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