Things We Won’t Miss in the New Normal (and a few things we will)
There has been so much discussion around workspaces, culture, remote policies, and health initiatives due to COVID and the cascading impact it has had.
Some of it is a bit dreary.
No more in-person networking events? No more team trust-building via work happy hours? And no more free-flowing beer on tap?
While some of these drawbacks are pretty terrible, there is a slew of benefits which we should be celebrating and wishing for their permanent passing. So rather than wallowing, we’re acknowledging the things we won’t be missing.
Expectations of Flying
Face to face interaction is absolutely valuable, but to what extent? So many sales professionals and account executives normalized flying multiple times a week to pitch new business and visit clients. That’s a lot of driving, going through security, boarding, deboarding, taking taxis, and arriving home exhausted. Not to mention how costly all of that travel is. Was this really that beneficial? Did we consider the health and wellbeing of our top travelers? What about the wellbeing of our planet?
While we predict business air travel will rebound, we hope that it won’t be such a hardline expectation, especially when virtual meetings get the job done.
Back to Back Coffees
Even if you’re an extrovert, by your fourth back-to-back coffee, you’re drained and unpleasantly jittery. The feeling of go-go-go can be exhilarating at times, but stressful. Are we really going to miss this when we can instead hop on a virtual Zoom meeting or phone call?
I don’t think so, at least until COVID is truly controlled. And even then, hopefully, we can reassess how essential it is, and schedule accordingly.
Responsibility Only to Shareholders
Companies need to expand their equity beyond shareholders. While we saw a few glimmers of this happening in 2019, hopefully, COVID accelerates this trend.
To summarize, corporations are more willing to take into account all stakeholders, not just shareholders when making business decisions. Stakeholders include their employees, partners, and community — anyone who is directly affected by that corporation’s action.
By shifting priorities, more equitable opportunities can arise, regarding financial, health and wellness, and emergency planning.
After shelter-in-place was announced, employees around the US expressed relief around the reduction of micromanaging. Not hard to see why–when a micromanager isn’t breathing down your neck, you are generally happier.
The current remote requirement has forced a lot of companies to come to terms with an ugly truth. They didn’t (and possibly still don’t) build trusting relationships. When managers don’t trust their team, they micromanage and everyone is unhappy. This common management failure is overdue for a new approach.
Today, most remote employees are producing spectacular work–without an overbearing micro-manager. Maybe they didn’t need that oversight after all.
Things We Will Miss
As mentioned before, we will miss much of the camaraderie that can only happen when you see the same crew of people each day. We will miss the after-work drinks after a successful project launch, especially in Denver’s vibrant RiNo district.
We will miss the consumer confidence that we took for granted in most of the 2010s. Hopefully, this will rebound sooner than later, however, it’s anyone’s guess.
I predict that many of us will miss the distinct “sections” of the day: commute, work, lunch, work, home. When we don’t have this separation, it can be more difficult to start or stop working.
And then possibly more than anything, we will miss the feeling of normalcy and mundanity. Being able to get together without thinking about the negative impact on society’s health is something we all took for granted and hopefully won’t again.
Overall, I think this pandemic has forced the world to stop and think. What are the most essential components of business? How can we prioritize our employee’s health and wellbeing? What are the most efficient ways of communicating?
Be rethinking what adds tangible value, we’ve reduced expenses, boosted employee morale, and set the stage to make the world a more equitable place. Even if many things go back to normal in a few years, this problem has turned us into problem solvers who need to reassess their solutions every few years.