We’re living in strange and challenging times. A global pandemic is impacting communities on a mass scale, taking a heavy toll on healthcare systems and the economy.
Cities have gone quiet, and most of us are confined to our homes in this new normal, uncertain about what’s next.
But there are some things we do know: Disruption creates swift and sweeping change, whether we’re ready for it or not. And with change lies the potential for opportunity and growth.
We’ve been using terms like “digital transformation” and “future of work” for more than a decade, and now the time has come for companies to truly walk the walk.
The coronavirus outbreak is changing how we work, and faster than anyone anticipated. Organizations that move quickly to meet the needs of a remote workforce, put their people first and find new ways to work will come out of this stronger and more united.
Here are a few things to consider:
We’re social distancing, but we’re closer than ever
We may be sheltering in place in our homes, but at work, the notion of physical distance has been eliminated. Siloed organizations with headquarters in one city and employees scattered elsewhere are no longer bound by location. There are no satellite offices or geographic barriers; there are fewer concerns about time zones and scheduling conflicts.
Everyone is joining the same video chat from their basement, bedroom or attic. I was on a Zoom call last week where three people were using the same canned background, so it felt like we were all together in a Dumbo loft surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows.
Need to contact someone who was hard to reach before? Why not give it a try now? There’s a higher likelihood you’ll be able to engage them directly, while they’re home in front of a laptop, just like you.
With the playing field leveled a bit across organizations, there’s greater potential for collaboration and accessibility.
A truly agile workforce can emerge
In uncertain times, an organization’s greatest strengths and weaknesses are revealed in short order. Are you able to move quickly and pivot as needed to meet your clients’ ever-changing needs? Navigating the world over the last month has been extremely complicated, with new and often conflicting information coming in every day, on the hour. More than ever, companies need reliable people and partners who can do great work, with speed, precision and creativity.
Businesses that can adapt quickly, stay agile and find new ways to work will weather this storm and emerge as leaders.
Culture is everything, especially with a remote workforce
Who you are as a company should transcend location. If you’re a global organization with headquarters in New York City, how can you rethink your ethos, mission and workforce culture so they resonate for every employee, no matter where they’re located?
Especially now, as employees are isolated and work and life are more intertwined than ever, it’s important to regularly check in with your people, see how they’re doing and find ways to bring them together so everyone feels included. In other words, be human.
We’re all doing our best right now, but there is hope and plenty of opportunity to change the way we work, for the better. If we accomplish that, we’ll be stronger – more united and well positioned to lead the future workforce when this is over.