Coronavirus and Why the Future of Work is Here to Stay?

Coronavirus and Why the Future of Work is Here to Stay

In late February, before there were state-wide or national directives, we had a serious conversation with my team at OurOffice, Inc. (O2) about the Coronavirus. We realized that it was more than anything we (or mankind) had experienced, and that a full-blown crisis would follow. I even asked my Linkedin friends at that time about attending the Montgomery Summit in LA, which was scheduled in early days of the following month. Shortly thereafter, we decided our last day working at the O2 offices in Santa Monica would be March 13th, almost a full week before the “stay at home” directive in our home state of California was issued. On March 15th, we published a blog post, driven by our strong belief that “Work will never be the same again!”

Around the same time, I had an investor conversation and shared our perspective on the crisis and its anticipated effects on the ecosystem and our company. To the investor’s surprise, despite the clear challenges of the crisis, we were certain, as we are now, of the silver lining that is sure to benefit workplace culture, diversity and inclusion in the longer-term. Amid the immediate concerns, the “Future of Work” is unfolding before our eyes. Visionary leaders and progressive organizations will take an active role to ensure it is a better future, instead of hoping (or insisting) that things go back to the way they were.

Of course, for years there has been a lot of talk about the “Future of Work.” What’s different now? Here are 3 reasons from the past, the present, and the future, as to why work will never be the same again, and the Future of Work is here to stay:

The Past: For decades prior to the crisis, employee engagement was hovering around 35%. Meanwhile, no “big ideas'' have emerged to give leaders and HR professionals new tools to make a difference.

The Present: Millions of employees and their organizations who were thrust into “work from home” with little planning, are experimenting with new approaches and tools every day. For example, Catherine Gillings, a member of the Future of Work Mastermind Community, mentioned WFH buddies and Virtual Group Work (with zoom video and regular group check-ins) as two new approaches. Some of these are working effectively to get the job done, and will last well beyond the crisis period. Many employees are also starting to appreciate time with family, or alternatively discovering changes that they need to make to lead to a better quality of life.  

The Future: Organizations will soon realize (If they have not already) that maximizing Work From Home benefits the bottom line in a significant way as their office space costs are shifted to their employees. These costs go beyond the direct real-estate expenses and include, but are not limited to utilities, OSHA and other costs and liabilities related to maintaining physical spaces that are compliant and healthy. 

Given our high degree of certainty that work will never be the same again, we have formed a Mastermind Community of HR and D&I experts and professionals to shape the Future of Work.  You can find out more about the mission and benefits of joining the community here. If you would like to take the next step to join the Mastermind Community, please take a moment to tell us more about yourself and how you envision the Future of Work here.

We are excited to hear from you. Meanwhile, please stay healthy and happy, and let's shape a better Future of Work together!