Today's Wundamail Voice's comes from Digital Marketing Consultant and Webbiquity Editor, Tom Pick, who shares his views on the future of work and what the "new normal" means for leaders and teams alike.
What do you think the future of work looks like post-crisis?
The disruption to "normal" work practices caused by COVID-19 is likely to lead to changes that will far outlast the pandemic.
Vast numbers of professional employees have figured out they can be just as productive working remotely as they are at the office. By eliminating commuting time, they may even be more productive.
Their managers have figured that out, too. Significant savings in rent, utilities, coffee and snacks, and office supplies can be realized if employees are working from home.
So, the future of work is likely to include:
- Fewer workers in the office, at least on a full-time basis.
- More social distancing (so more space per employee) and the end of "open office" floor plans (good riddance!).
- Continued use of remote conferencing technology and project management software that keeps everyone on the same page when they are not in the same space.
How should managers/leaders prepare?
First, they need to plan for a more "hybrid" workforce: most employees will likely split their time between onsite and remote work, while some others will do their jobs almost exclusively in the office or away from it.
Second, there will still be times when it's vital to get the whole team together, so they'll need to plan for a range of activities including half- or full-day in-office live meetings as well as multi-day, offsite retreats.
Third, measurement systems will need to change. The best leaders will assess employee performance based oh achievement of project goals and business objectives. The worst will be tempted to micromanage workers based on activity tracking technology, which runs the risk of driving away their best team members.
Do you think this is a step in the right direction and why?
The eventual "new normal" will provide a number of benefits to both employers and workers.
For businesses, benefits include reduced office space and utilities costs; happier, less-stressed employees; (likely) reduced absenteeism; and potentially an increase in productivity.
For employees, it means reduced (or no) commuting time and associated costs; lower clothing expense (less need for an extensive professional wardrobe); and improved work/life balance.
A large enough adjustment could also produce broader societal benefits. Less commuting means less need to add new freeway miles, lower emissions, better traffic flow, and fewer accidents.
Tom Pick is a digital marketing consultant who helps B2B clients improve their online visibility, increase brand awareness, and generate leads. Through SEO, search marketing, social media, content / influencer marketing, and marketing technology strategy, he's helped clients ranging from solopreneurs to $1 billion+ corporations. He's the editor of the Webbiquity b2b marketing blog, author of "The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing Software"; been named to several lists of top B2B and social media influencers; written for leading blogs; been quoted in publications including Fast Company, Forbes, Huffington Post and Inc. magazine; and presented at blogging and social media conferences.