To state the obvious, there is clearly an acceptance of a new normal. That new normal is about replacing inefficient work practices that we’re only starting to realize were inefficient — commuting to a workplace for an hour or hour and a half, then having people interrupt your workflow for an hour or more just seems so inefficient. I’ve found myself more productive while working longer hours. I’m calm, I’m not running around, but I do have more time to get things done.
My question is will we be able to take the “best of,” or will we be going back to work the old way. I find it hard to believe I’d spend 18 to 20 hours to get somewhere to have three days of all-day meetings, having a 50% productivity loss over what I have today.
Instead of making some of our online work sessions simply replicate the day-long meetings – stretching from 9:30 to 5:30 in some lucky person’s time zone – we’re doing them in three-hour maximum sessions over multiple days. We find that a meeting we could have conducted in four days in one centralized location we can do in seven days – without flight time – in short sessions of three hours each with a lot more concentration. Shorter work sessions stretched over a longer time. We’re able to keep a project going with development, deployment and legacy system maintenance, all in parallel. As opposed to having to do things sequentially when we met face to face.
I think the mood is better. The productivity is higher, the collaboration is greater. Of course, as will all things we take the good with the bad, and my team members tell me that they miss the social interaction. This substitution of workplace social contact with other social contact may not be a bad thing. It both expands a person’s network and draws a firmer line between work and personal spaces.
I’ve spoken to people over Zoom that I have not connected with in the workplace in years. It’s simple, and you get face-to-face contact, and you’re done. I’m finding a move away from physical to digital. Sharing files, all that stuff, is a lot easier.