Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, and it will be over, there will opportunities radically to change the way we work on a permanent basis.
My three questions for any Board of Directors will be:
(1) What did we actually lose by not travelling, not flying?
There will be some valid answers to this and they will need to be taken into account. There will also be areas where not travelling has actually made little impact, where it was shown to be a business habit. These offer every business a cost-saving opportunity and, much more importantly, the route to a permanent, and possible significant, reduction in their carbon footprint.
(2) What impact did flexible-working / home-working have on our productivity?
How adept were we at trusting our staff? To what extent can it be hard-wired into how we work in perpetuity? Which myths about home-working were shattered once and for all? Which were the positives which we can build into how we work? Was the business flexible? Can we simply adopt flexible working from now on? (Hint: yes)
(3) Were our values alive?
How effective were our leadership behaviours? Did we default to old-fashioned “control” or did we manage to relax into trusting our people? Was situational or adaptive leadership our prevalent style or were we ‘stuck’? Were we inclusive? Were we kind as our teams faced the personal impact of COVID-19? Were we human?
I believe the answers to these questions – and the increased self-awareness – will lead to a revolution, a dramatic & positive change, in how we all work forever.