by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE
“Clean seas don’t make skillful sailors.”—African Proverb
Whereas we could also be untimely in assuming that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has handed with the Delta variant alive and properly, it’s higher than it was a 12 months in the past. Nonetheless, issues won’t ever be the identical in its wake, even for these of us untouched by the illness itself. Our new attitudes about social distancing, private safety, and hygiene will stay for a very long time, as will practices adopted in all features of our lives.
Amongst different issues, we’re nonetheless weathering the worst recession because the Nice Despair, when so many people have been laid off, furloughed, or in any other case out of labor attributable to lockdowns. Now that we’re piecing collectively the shuttered and shattered parts of our economic system, we’re additionally placing into motion varied issues we’ve discovered as a way to get something finished in any respect.
Greater than the rest, distant expertise saved us from monetary and enterprise destroy. Over the last main pandemic, the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919, our ancestors managed with out it, as a result of they nonetheless trusted easier life. However within the intervening century, we’ve turn into so depending on high-tech and machines that we may barely operate as coherent centralized organizations through the pandemic. With out telephony and its offshoots, we couldn’t have gotten a lot finished. The overall consensus is that these and different new enterprise strategies of promise to revolutionize post-COVID productiveness as issues normalize.
Let’s check out a couple of issues the enterprise world has adopted that promise good issues to return:
- Much less enterprise journey. This was pressured upon us as airways and different carriers both shut down or drastically reduce. Out of the blue, it grew to become near-impossible to have face-to-face conferences with shoppers or co-workers throughout the nation or world. Face-time—if wanted—was often doable utilizing Skype, Zoom, and different software program apps. If not, good previous phone-based telecons sufficed. We proved to ourselves we don’t want as a lot enterprise journey. If we are able to maintain to this lesson, we are able to’t assist however turn into extra productive and worthwhile.
- Telework/distant work grew to become extra acceptable all the way in which round. Administration and rank-and-file alike grew to become extra snug with it, as a result of once more, it was pressured on us by circumstance. No extra Neanderthal considering that if I can’t see you, you’ll be able to’t be working. Those that had by no means embraced distant work, as so many others already had, discovered how helpful it was, and stopped worrying a lot about employees skiving off simply because they weren’t beneath the watchful eyes of their managers. If everybody stays as snug because the expertise advances, productiveness will proceed to rise based mostly on what we’ve discovered.
- Digitization, automation, and AI has turn into higher and entrenched within the office. Like most pundits, I don’t see this altering. These aren’t the sorts of improvements that may substitute folks; they’ll make these folks extra productive, since they don’t want to fret a lot in regards to the day-to-day “housekeeping” of their office, whether or not meaning compiling each day stories or submitting paperwork.
- Many organizations have restructured their workforce extra effectively. They have been obliged by social distancing and distant working to create environment friendly long-distance methods of doing issues, particularly throughout downtime after layoffs. Generally this meant shedding or letting go their least productive employees so they could turn into extra environment friendly and agile. So long as these enhancements aren’t dropped as COVID goes away, they’ll pay extra productiveness dividends down the road.
- Hardships strengthened surviving companies. To outlive, most had no selection however to innovate. Lots of these improvements will proceed to repay in coming years. On the very least, the scenario brought on them to create new contingency plans to cowl all the pieces, making ready them in additional methods for the longer term.
Towards the Future
One factor COVID-19 has required of us is the adoption and severe use of expertise that futurists and science fiction writers anticipated us to undertake lengthy since, however that companies have heretofore averted. Why this occurred isn’t completely clear. A part of it was cultural inertia; when issues work properly sufficient, why change? I believe many individuals additionally averted distant expertise attributable to concern of a presumed dehumanizing affect. Fortuitously, it didn’t prove that means; as soon as we overcame a couple of technical obstacles, it allowed us to work successfully and introduced us nearer collectively. A look at prime time TV commercials reveals that new telework and distant digital merchandise are nonetheless being rolled out and pushed closely, although most of us can collect in public as soon as once more—and e-commerce is booming. Backside line, the enterprise world’s response to COVID has helped private productiveness. We’ll see the way it sticks.
© 2021 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE is an award-winning keynote speaker, bestselling creator, and famous authority on worker and crew productiveness. She is the president of The Productiveness Professional, Inc., an organization devoted to serving to leaders improve office efficiency in high-stress environments. Stack has authored eight books, together with FASTER TOGETHER: Accelerating Your Group’s Productiveness (Berrett-Koehler 2018). She is a previous president of the Nationwide Audio system Affiliation, and a member of its unique Speaker Corridor of Fame (with fewer than 175 members worldwide). Stack’s shoppers embrace Cisco Methods, Wal-Mart, and Financial institution of America, and she or he has been featured on the CBS Early Present and CNN, and within the New York Instances. To have Laura Stack converse at an upcoming assembly or occasion, name 303-471-7401 or contact us on-line.