There are more arguments supporting the return to workplaces, sooner rather than later.
There have been a number of interesting articles published recently discussing the concern expressed by many boards that their people may have enjoyed working from home but creativity seems to have fallen.
It is natural. People will be more creative if they are able to collaborate and work with others. The concern for boards is that there are fewer new ideas coming through, less innovation and arguably fewer new solutions for customers.
At the same time, it has been noted that few working from home have developed new customer relationships and that working from home has only been good for maintaining existing relationships. Many have noticed a decline in behaviours and productivity. It is ironic as productivity was such a major topic of discussion in reference to the workplace but it is felt that many employees have created their own “realities” whilst working at home and their own understanding of what is acceptable. The problem though is what many believe is acceptable simply will not be good enough when the world re-opens as disciplines and behaviours have declined.
It all has a fair reason as home spaces were never designed to be working places too. It is not what many asked for and the pandemic demanded that daily life changed with no consultation or consideration. Many secretly enjoyed the first lockdown as the weather was good and it broke from what had become highly grueling working days. It is no secret that working days had become too long, too pressurised and that the cycle had become too demanding and negative. A better balance was needed and for many was found due to the start of the pandemic.
However, there is evidence now emerging that many are struggling in Lockdown 3 and productivity is not at the same levels. There is a growing desire to get back to work; but just with better balance. There are also growing concerns over rising levels of depression, loneliness and mental well-being.
Despite all the debates, the workplace post-pandemic will naturally be driven by those who can get back up and running, build new markets, find new customers and start to see wealth return. Boards are concerned by the lack of creativity and productivity as they can see that customers will be lost and market share eroded. The challenge for boards will be to re-engage their teams and get them to be enthusiastic themselves to ensure that they raise their bar.
It will take time. One can see that many behaviours have declined and that many have created their own realities. It will be a hard journey for those to get back to whatever the “new landscape” expects but that is the challenge facing all. There are expert and proven consultants who have not moved on or embraced developments and are still talking in the past. There are new entrepreneurs to emerge to challenge. New leaders are emerging and others fading away. It is all change. Change threatens some, excites others.
The one reality that can be expected is that business will grow with creativity, productivity and service; so those that get these three planks working best will be the ones that prosper fastest and longest.
It is always said that it takes 3 weeks to form a new habit and 3 months to change a bad habit. If true, there are 3 months to prepare the ground for the change needed.