It won’t be long until the government announces the end to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, but that certainly won’t mean life will return to normal.
We would be foolish to imagine when the government lifts the lockdown that the world won’t have changed. We won’t all be going back to work on a regular basis and leisure activities will still be limited. Social distancing rules will surely be around for months, for fear of creating another spike in virus cases.
Even if the rules are relaxed considerably, won’t this experience have a long-lasting effect on the way people interact? When the situation first developed, it was odd not shaking hands with friends and acquaintances. Now however, we are all more conscious of the transmission of germs and leaving a clear space between each other.
Can the Terrible Lockdown Experience Improve Your Business?
From a business perspective, many people now understand the ease with which they can work from home. With a decent laptop, modern VoIP telephone system and good internet connection, teams of people can work from remote locations as though they are all in the same office. There are obviously positives to working together in the same office, such as building relationships and sharing information with a quick shout across the office. However, we cannot ignore the great advantages to working from home:
- Save travel time and spend longer doing things that are important. More crucially, less travel is great news for the environment!
- Companies would be able to have smaller offices, reducing costs.
- Fewer interruptions means many people are more efficient.
Is there the possibility this whole dreadful situation could drive positive change? If many people do decide to spend more days working from home, there could be a massive drop in travel. Environmentalists having been trying to achieve this for years!
The use of web conferencing software such as Teams or Zoom has grown exponentially during lockdown, meaning so many people are more familiar with using it. It is accepted that face to face meetings are great at building relationships, but will you be replacing some meetings with a web chat? This is another opportunity to reduce costs and save time.
Some people do struggle when working at home. For them, rather than travel miles to an office, local serviced offices provide a great alternative – you get the best of both worlds. We have one near us called The Home Office that offers a work environment on your doorstep. Clearly people who live close to their company office could work from there, but for those with offices further afield, the use of local serviced offices would help with travel reduction.
What is the Future?
It will be interesting to see if there is a cultural shift with business and personal relationships. One lesson that has been learnt recently is that in times of adversity, we need to work together to succeed. This is an antithesis to TV programs such as The Apprentice which encourages an atmosphere of conflict.
Where will this leave a project such as HS2? Some of the calculations for the amount of predicted travel seemed a little dubious before Coronavirus changed the world, but could those figures require a complete overhaul? Infrastructure projects, business plans and personal life plans will need to be examined to understand if changes are required.
There is a great opportunity for people to embrace remote working technology and work more collaboratively. This will surely improve people’s lives and help the planet. We have had a new way of working forced upon us, but it could have a lasting benefit for many.
Has the COVID-19 lockdown made you reassess your goals and aspirations? Will you change your way of working or are you desperate to get back to the office as it was?