Can you hear me?
The word of the year 2020 will undoubtedly be “Can you hear me”.
The “Corona”-year has forced almost all office workers into a work-from home, juggle kids-lockdowns-food-order-online-life-routine. We’ve all seen a huge spike in video meetings. Where “pre-corona” we worked from home just when we were happy to have a nice manager or when we “had to wait for a package that would come between 06.00 and 19.00”. Or the plumbers. Whatever the excuse was, we had a different setup. Let’s acknowledge that.
Let’s face it – it’s hilarious how we try to make our life’s work and at the same time have some kind of professional outlook too it. Just see the video above…
We really don’t have any better tools, despite Google Meet, Zoom, Slack, Teams. They all depend on the bandwidth of your home internet connection and hey – the ISP’s didn’t extent the network just before Corona…so yes it’s going to be the same as always. Until fixed. This post is not about that. This post is about the opportunities this new freedom gives us.
Working from home pros and cons
- Able to decide working times
- Cut off hours of commute every day
- Can exercise during lunch and use own shower, no gym or office shower-experience
- Can pickup from day care school
- Kids can be home and play (as it’s now OK to have a screaming kid in the background)
- Work “undisturbed” – able to finish without interruption = much higher effiency
- Kids in the background sometimes
- Zoom/Google Meet – can you hear me? Always issues even with 1Gbit internet…
- What about meeting work colleagues and office culture?
- The need to meet in person
And this last point – what about office culture? When do we meet colleagues? Pre Corona I discussed the idea of maybe working from home 2-3 days and then have meeting spaces rented in the city where everyone could come and have collaborative meetings, where people are charged, interested, energized and happy to meet. This could setup a nice environment for innovation and “think outside the box”. You could switch locations, try new cities etc. I’ve seen a few services offering something like this.
A new thing though – which I’ve recently discussed with mostly friends is collaborative spaces. What if you can now, for the first time in human history, choose your colleagues? Wait, what? Yes. What about, once per week or biweekly, share an open office space with your friends? Some new amazing opportunities opens up right here. You have friends in many other companies working on their problems and their solutions and sometimes it’s hard to lift up the eyes over the horizon and think and discuss things. Just sitting next to people you have chosen could potentially boost your working day efficiency but also inspiration from other perspectives. Now, I’m not talking about sharing the usual company “nag” or even problems with external people (imagine the complication of having company secrets shared widely etc). No I mean to boil it down to just the feeling you get by hanging out with friends. Having a coffee, talk about the movies you watched, without any awkwardness, musts etc. Maybe other business ideas, solutions etc (that are not secret). This opens up for a completely new way of rethinking our working time. What does a company get for paying you the salary? Before it was yes, a job done (hopefully) and your time. Now, with the possibility to meet friends during the work day and throw jokes or get inspiration, companies may also get your heart. And with that, endless opportunities opens up. Less stress, tension etc.
This of course opens up the entire discussion of Office Culture, and the role that should play. It’s been a huge thing for Silicon valley companies, startups and also big corporations to build the kind of “pull” effect with free lunches, slides in the office or cool and thought-thru collaborative spaces with cushions, sofas and expensive touch screens. Maybe this now switches slowly into a more “personal” co-working attitude where we are all contributors and “managers of our own time” but also accountable for how and what we do and not only how long time it takes to do it.
At least, there are some interesting options out there!