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Working from home... A new norm?

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in a matter of months. From how we greet or see each other, to how we shop or venture into public, to how we work and work with our coworkers… most things have changed.

Looking at it from a business perspective, work from home environments were slowly becoming a norm as a younger work force and retaining top talent were pushing for remote days at the office. A home office was also attractive to a corporate office due to the benefit of having additional staff that would not impact floor space or require additional office space which would benefit overhead costs.

The biggest obstacle to working from home tended to be the generational gap between leadership teams and the workforce. Many Senior Managers in a corporate environment are in the Baby Boomer – Gen X range gap and historically are more comfortable with face to face interactions and less comfortable with video calls or web conferences.

Covid19 has changed all perceptions in less than 3 months. The majority of the global workforce is now being forced to work remote. While there are still some businesses scrambling to tighten security and stabilizing connections and building out home offices, a vast majority of workers have adapted to remote office work.

Have there been hiccups? Most definitely! For those with families there is definitely a “let’s get reacquainted” aspect to seeing family and spouses 24 x 7 and many not accustomed to working from home are likely still trying to juggle the new work life/how life balance.

The question I have is… will this be the new norm?

With the pandemic likely lasting a minimum of another 2 to 3 months, will the workforce who can work from want to make it permanent? Will a company accrue large savings by not needing a large office space that they adopt more virtual offices? Will technologies like remote VPN, video conferencing and cloud-based telephony evolve more quickly to render large offices obsolete? Or… when this is all over… will people rush to leave their home office and embrace time with their colleagues?

My personal belief is that remote technologies will make a large leap in this year and corporate offices will rethink how an office operates. Critical staff will likely work out of an office an environment, but many will fall in 3+ days a week remote/permanent remote environment. This would allow the creation of shareable office space in a companies current floorplan, which also lets a company to increase the workforce without additional office space costs.

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