A lot has changed in just a few months… a LOT. Motivated by response to COVID-19, we’ve seen massive structural shifts in our cultural, social, and economic lives. As we move forward into a world where we are asked to manage risk while also participating in the activities that keep society moving, the concept of balance is going to become more important than ever.
On the work front – much of the rise of work-from-home will transition from a temporary status to a permanent or semi-permanent one. Fewer people in the office will deliver attractive cost savings for many employers, while simultaneously increasing perceived benefits for workers. Flexible schedules and shorter/non-existent commutes have yielded higher productivity in many industries – conveniently right as more employees are tasked with managing increased childcare needs.
The trade-off, of course, is that without an office to “leave” at the end of the day, the ability to effectively separate work hours from non-work hours can become challenging. Employers can look to “end of day” recap meetings or “sign off” messages to reinforce “official hours of operation” and encourage timeliness in finishing assignments and tasks.
For business owners, seeing so many jobs change to a work-from-home platform can be worrisome. Not all businesses are well suited for remote work, or may lack the resources to change the fundamental nature of the company environment. Rolling out project management software, remote time-keeping software, and budgeting for home office supplies may represent a significant investment that is difficult if not impossible to recoup from remote office savings alone.
As well, for companies that have built their reputations on personalized service and superior processes, the structural shift to remote service may have unintended impacts on business and customer loyalty.
Creative professions may find it difficult to collaborate in a vacuum. Likewise, employees that excel in face-to-face situations may struggle to be as productive when working in isolation. Everything from hiring policies to performance evaluations may require extensive rethinking. Creating “moments” where teams can come together – even if it’s digital – are key in keeping all employees engaged and working towards the same goals. Teambuilding, short-term and long-term planning, strategy sessions and other activities will still need to happen… the new challenge is making sure to maximize those actions from afar.
In the meantime, expect an extended period of transition. Some companies and industries will adjust and find their footing quickly. Others are having to reinvent the pillars of their businesses. The best thing we can all do to make “new normal” feel more comfortable is to avoid being resistant to change and accept that balance actually involves dozens of tiny adjustments over time… until those adjustments become second nature to a point where we barely notice them.
About the VIBE Agency: The VIBE Agency is a Miami-based award-winning full-service production agency that specializes in the creation and orchestration of live and virtual experiences for the corporate industry. The agency is forward-thinking and was recognized as one of the 50 top event companies by Special Events magazine in 2019.