What Will Change When We’re Healthy Again?
Be careful of what you wish for. Employees have pushed to work at home, and employers – for the most part – resisted it. More remote working – and learning – will become the new norm as our coronavirus ends, and dynamics will change.
Our workplace and school dynamics are under scrutiny, for sure. People are adapting – at least for now – to the reality of not being able to gather and interact. Are they more productive? Our collective adrenalin is still pumping, and we’re all finding ways to make this new environment work. But what will happen as time goes on?
If working from home becomes more the norm, employers will add more tools to monitor the productivity of their remote workers. A lot of them are already available in the office, where the computer can be just like the boss sitting on a worker’s shoulder and recording every work-related and non-related movement. Will that kind of oversight extend to the home? Right now, an employee suddenly working at home can probably take a break to do some cooking or laundry, especially if they need to meet the needs of a family that’s suddenly at home all the time. What’s going to happen next?
My personal feeling is that everyone is going to miss the personal interaction of the office – and for kids, the interaction at school. There’s much to be gained from the social experience of collaborating in person – and it’s a huge part of a young person’s development. Yet, at the same time, I also think that working and learning through online channels will eventually become more stressful for people who have felt the need to be at the office or in the classroom.
We are social beings, and the people who need to mingle will want to return to an office. We see signs of it as we socially distance ourselves now. When we met some neighbors to walk together, we walked on one side of the street, and they walked on the other side. We came upon other neighbors who were having “picnics,” with their picnicking partners each on opposite sides of the street. Anyone with kids who go to school knows that the kids are trying to find more ways to connect and engage with their friends. Even homeschooled kids have needed social interaction.
The internet will continue to provide a way for people to gather, but it will always be a remote gathering. Will we be able to accept some of this as a new norm? I believe we’ll need to come to grips emotionally and politically with new ways of working, learning and socializing before we address the technology needed to make it happen. Once we decide on our direction, we’ll be able to add the required internet capacity and build the necessary security infrastructure.
Are there any insights into what may be our new way of life? If the observations of our neighborhood UPS driver are any indication, we’re setting up more home offices. He said his most-delivered items are boxes from Staples, monitors and office chairs. Once we have the means to work at home in place, the more likely we’ll all be to work at home exclusively or to a greater extent.
And what about our relationship with online shopping? We’ve taken Amazon and our entire package delivery system for granted; overnight delivery is the rule. Will next day become next week?
In the meantime, we can help you keep up with the technology you need now to meet your evolving everyday-living needs – and maybe help you map out what you might need going forward. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to talk about it.