Some folks needed a push...
Even though all the tools needed to not just run, but DO, your business anywhere have existed for some time, there was enough inertia in how things have been done that it took COVID-19 to push things over the line. How we do business has permanently changed.
Now that this has happened, what does it mean?
Welcome to the world of "Async" communication.
The tools are simply the tools. As always, used poorly or for the wrong purpose, these tools can be ineffective, even with disastrous results. Using email as a replacement for in-person, or remote "chatting" is a great now long-understood example.
The term Async Communication, like "Social-Distancing" has been around for a while now. It just hasn't become mainstream. An outcome of COVID-19 will cause it become as well known as social-distancing. It's how all businesses, small and big, that haven't already, will promote this as how to carry on their activities. Those who execute well will succeed. Those who don't won't. An understanding that speed of response isn't what's important, it is quality of response. Impatience will be a frowned upon trait for business owners and employees alike.Here's a link to a great article on this.
A 24-7 Balanced Work-Life mix
The 9-5 mindset has finally been put to pasture. The trade-offs required for this to increase well-being for both businesses and all co-workers will be an understanding that people's circumstances and personal attributes are all unique. This means that work should be delivered when it's best done, on-time, on budget and as expected. A contract, written or implicit, will exist that allows each individual to be employed/contracted and live their personal life alongside each other, with both experiences enhancing the well-being for all.
The "Work-Remotely" concept is now entrenched
For once and for all, the worry that workers will be less productive and take advantage of working remotely is behind us. Skeptics were forced to comply (thanks you COVID) with overwhelming positive experiences.
We now need to work out how personal/work priorities and conflicts are resolved, they've certainly been tested. I believe that the only way we could get where we are now is to be forced to. Let's embrace this as a positive of the pandemic and fix once and for all that work is work and personal is home. Solutions to this, if a balance of both is the goal, are readily available, using tools properly, and acceptance that they need to co-exist, and adopting an async philosophy. I have 2 options that I think will go along way to helping make this work:
The physical and social fact that "Home is Home". This doesn't mean that one can't work from home, anything but. What it does mean is that:
- Where one works remotely:
- If at home, the fact is, the home is and always will be the nexus of our personal lives, it must be as separate and apart from that nexus that we've had to be to avoid the spread of COVID; and/or
- Working near home, but not at home, at a co-working space or even a coffee shop. This can achieve higher productivity and that much needed separation.
- The original reason for having Happy-Hours should be followed. It's a well documented fact that a break between the mental functions of work and "not-work" are very different and a gap of time between the two enhances the quality of the outputs in either. I'm not promoting drinking between work and personal life, simply the creating a clean break between the two. 10 minutes of mindful meditation can just as easily do the trick.
The future of work has switched from "Go to work" to "Work wherever" and meeting in person will only be when it's the most effective means of getting things done as part of an overall asynchronous communication style of working.