Coronavirus will most definitely change the world as we knew it. In what ways?
Well, maybe one of them will be to make telework the preferred way of getting things done.
About two weeks ago, the county government in Silicon Valley proposed exactly that. Given that the San Francisco Bay Area has had some of the worst traffic in the country, coupled with the highest housing prices and an overall housing crunch, it would make total sense for companies in that area to want to support workers who lived elsewhere — or at least, who could work productively at their jobs without contributing to the congestion on the roadways. As you have likely heard, the planet has been benefitting from the lockdown based on reduced smog and air polluation and an increase in air quality in many places including China, India, and Los Angeles.
Why not make it permanent?
Companies have long resisted the work-from-home thing because they lose control over their workers. Who’s to say you’re not goofing off for six hours with Animal Crossing instead of getting that model done that you were supposed to finish last week?
There’s plenty of goofing off in the office, too, but at least the company can have the illusion of control when there are butts in seats and warm bodies congregating in the kitchen.
The entire pandemic experience has likely affected you in ways large and small, most of which you’re unable to fully even perceive and appreciate yet. What it’s done in many work environments is it’s caused people to become creative, since they have had to get things done under these new circumstances.
Because work-from-home has actually, well, worked in a lot of cases, the open-minded and forward-thinking among us are considering how to make these changes permanent. Instead of grudgingly acquiescing when an employee requests to work from home, now some managers may start to see it as a preferred mode of work. Twitter has announced that it will be permanently available as a mode of work for their employee base.
Some people really do suffer when they’re forced to stay home for extended periods of time. But introverts? Many of them are thriving right now. It’s incredibly individual, and it also takes practice and effort and discipline to make a work-from-home setup successful. The problems with motivation and procrastination are real.
We’re certain there are many academics launching studies on this very topic. Hopefully we’ll gain more research and concrete answers and insights into what is effective in terms of techniques, standards, processes, and more.
For now, it’s rather exciting to see that coronavirus may be uprooting these long-held requirements that were rigid and inflexible, and often were only being maintained becuase that’s how everyone had always done it, and it was difficult to see how to do it another way. We’re being forced into another way, and while not exactly wonderful in all respects, we’re making it work.
Will be interesting to see where this takes us, and what other societal changes may arise out of coronavirus and what it’s done to us as a people.