Connecting with real people is one thing we all miss about the office. However let’s not forget some of the things that were not so great about office life.
As COVID-19 cases are dropping and vaccines are being rolled out the discussion to return to work will intensify. We should ask ourselves “Was the Pre pandemic way of working really as great as we remember?”, and perhaps more importantly “How can we make sure our Post pandemic work life is better and not worse?”
Take the layout of the office building. Many of us worked in either a soulless, Dilbert-esque cubicle farm, or in a loud wide open space full of distractions.
We would spend too much time in meetings, and despite that still have many communication issues.
In every meeting the same people speak, and the same are quiet. Ensuring that the loudest opinion wins, not the best. The way most meetings are run has the unintended consequence that people who feel that they are in a lower power position do not speak up. This disproportionately impacts women, people of color, immigrants, and introverts to name a few.
The pandemic forced everyone to re-invent how we work together in a sudden “work from home” world. Levels of flexibility and support within teams that we would have never thought possible a year ago seem normal now.
Post pandemic work will be a mix of office and remote work, unique to every company and every situation. Both managers and workers must step up their game to design a better, more inclusive, way of working together by blending the best of both worlds.
We did an incredible job transitioning to remote work, with no preparation. I can only imagine how much more we can achieve together, now that we have time to be a bit more purposeful in designing our post pandemic work life.
This is the first article in a series on work life after the pandemic. Future articles will go deeper on specific challenges and possible solutions.