What Next?: Designing the next stage of work in the time of COVID
Much has been learned about what we need to work, and what we need to have meaningful collaboration under the pall of COVID-19. Many of us would like to think that what we've learned will not be lost. Just about every industry has had to make adjustments to how they conduct business. Time will tell what sticks as we (hopefully) normalize in the next few years. I've read with interest the predictions of how we will work in the face of "old heads" who know one "correct" way to do business. The standards of how we run businesses and how we act in that mode are dyed-in-the-wool and not easily turned. Silicon Valley took a left turn away from traditional work styles in the 90s and yet it had little effect on staid business environments. At least where I've worked, there was no chance of bringing one's dog to work. But now, now we have been forced to use technology that had been present all along but not used fully if at all. We've had to grin and bear the things we've not liked about the work world. Now, we see the reluctance of workers who don't want to return to the status quo. There is an outcry for a more humane way of working.
What goes hand-in-hand with not losing the wholeness of in-person work is the efficient use of technology. Can anyone afford to ignore this trend? There is no question that digital-based industries have fared better, I've heard said that remote work has never felt the love of the best innovations before COVID. Under intense use, surely improvements can be identified.
From food services' use of mobile devices to speed transactions while maintaining healthy distancing to grocery delivery and medical practices able to "see" patients via telehealth; the reluctant have had to follow what the trendsetters had adopted pre-COVID.
Like industries that have had to suffer near-catastrophic change (recorded music, television, apps, and food delivery come to mind) the light at the end of the tunnel was only visible when they accepted that there was no going back, only forward.
Articles on the hybrid workplace:Are Digital Organizations Better at Overcoming COVID?
Harvard Business School - Working Knowledge
11 June 2020 by Danielle Kost
5 Practices to Make Your Hybrid Workplace Inclusive
Harvard Business Review
17 August 2021 by
by Grace Lordan, Teresa Almeida, and Lindsay Kohler