Okay, the very near future. Like in the next few months, what will life be like in our factories and offices? One thing is for sure and that is that we will not be going back to the way things were before Covid-19. Now that we have had a chance to realize how really vulnerable we have been to germs that cause world shaking pandemics (this is not a horror movie script anymore, its real life), we have to change the way we do things.
Here are some of the more evident changes that will occur (or are already occurring) in our workplaces:
In cities commuting will be different as we try to avoid sardine packed subways and buses and trains and elevators. Employers will stagger work hours so that there are fewer people coming to work at the same time.
For those who have to work in office spaces, changes are in the works. For one thing, those walled cubicles are coming back. Gone will be that great open workspace fad that has occurred the past few years. We will be back to Dilbert-land soon enough, as distancing will be the order of the day. Forget those office kitchens with everybody’s dirty coffee cups piled in those filthy sinks. That will be gone thank goodness! And let’s not even go there, when it comes to those office refrigerators filled with Chuck’s and Joan’s abandoned lunch bags even though Chuck retired in 2012 and Joan left six years ago! We’ll all be on our own, making sure we keep our food and possessions to ourselves. Companies will be buying Purel and similar disinfectants by the truckload. Door knobs will be replaced by loops that can be opened using your forearm. We are entering the world of designer face masks. We will all soon have ten year supplies of toilet paper in our homes, never mind in our workplaces where it will be kept under lock and key and supplied on demand!
But all those changes are for people who will actually go to work. Many people who have started working from home will be staying there. Some of the large companies have already announced that their employees will be working from home at least until the end of the year, and most possibly longer. Actually this might be one of the good things to come out of this pandemic as people realize that they can get a lot more done on their own schedule. At home you won’t have the interruptions like meaningless meetings or endless recaps of what happened on The Masked Singer last night.
Here are some of the good things that are going to come out of the new normal of working remotely. For one thing it won’t really matter where people live anymore, which means the hiring pool will be greatly expanded. Someone working for a Silicon Valley high-tech company could actually be living and working in Texas or even Maine. It won’t matter anymore.
This trend of working remotely has had a very shallow growth curve for many years now but suddenly as more and more people are working from home this will become the norm.
Think about that for just a minute, and you can come to some pretty amazing conclusions:
Work communities will become at least national if not international, making the world an even smaller village. The exchange of ideas will lead to more innovation and creativity than ever before. We have already started to see this with the cyber meetings that are going on right now. My library board meetings, my church council meetings, even my church services are all happening online. I have given more short webinars in the past two months than in my entire career before that. Next week my doctor’s appointment will be via Zoom.
Companies like VIRbela are offering virtual campuses and classrooms, sales conferences, military training, and whatever else we will need using realistic avatars and venues. This is the wave of the future… right now. Not a new idea but an idea whose time has come.And that’s really what it gets down to. We have had virtual meetings, YouTube webinars, remote workers, and remote teaching, for years now. But they have been a sort of virtual underground until now. Most of us knew these things were happening somewhere and that somebody was using these communications technologies, but it wasn’t us. But now it is, we are all using these new technologies and loving them (well most of us are anyway). And we’re only getting started. Who knows what the post pandemic (I hope ) future holds for us? Who knew on January 1st 2020 what we would be doing on May 19th, 2020? All I know is that it was certainly not this! But people are strong and innovative and creative when the chips are down, and I am confident that as we have always done before we will find a way. and personally, I can’t wait to see what will happen next! So, hang on we are about to take one wild supercharged ride into the future. It’s only common sense