What will worklife look like after COVID-19? A year ago, just after Bay Area governments imposed a shelter-in-place order to check the spread of a mysterious new coronavirus, Cristina Banks worried about how she would work from home. She would miss her office at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. She would miss interacting with colleagues […]
“I don’t think we understood collectively how important being in the presence of others has been for our own energy, our own motivation, our own sense of connection and joy.”–Cristina Banks (source)
NOTES: What Will Worklife Look Like After COVID-19?
Inspiration comes to you when you’re least thinking about it. It can come when you’re doing something else or you’re looking out your window. But it comes to you because somebody has said something, or you’ve met somebody who had a different point of view, or there has been something that you’ve seen that triggers something new. Now, we don’t have water cooler talk anymore, and inspiration?.
When the social support network’s is gone, it’s all on you. We don’t have help in the same way we had it before for things like going out to eat. For teaching your kids, or babysitting. Or, you know, just friends stopping by to listen.
My idea was, if you create a safety pod or a safety bubble, people in the bubble could interact freely without fear of infection, as long as they adhere to all the behaviors that will keep the bubble safe. And if you have one safety bubble, you can join another safety bubble, and then you can join another safety bubble. And suddenly, you’ve got a giant bubble.
I’ve seen picture after picture of the design of a new workplace with properly distant desks and one-way walkways. And you have to order your lunch from the caterer, and the caterer will tell you when you can arrive to pick it up.
One other of the innovations coming up is that headquarters may be dead as the primary gathering place for an organization’s employees. People don’t want to commute anymore.
I was introduced to a virtual-building workplace, where everyone was an avatar, and they could walk into rooms. They could interact with each other and walk out to the garden and put presentations up on display. My mind was exploding. What? Somebody has created an artificial world, and we can find ourselves there, and our mouths move with what we’re saying?
So, what will the future bring? It may be artificial. Artificial work, artificial worlds. And we can just work at our keyboard and move ourselves around, and go get a drink virtually.
Are you still wondering what worklife will look like after COVID-19? Sure, there could be more, human innovations and imaginations are limitless.
Technology has been instrumental to maintaining connection with a remote workforce. Without it, shifting to work from home would’ve been impossible. Workers would have been isolated, disconnected and utterly cut off from their colleagues.
Technology can also have a negative effect on work-life balance if we fail to set strict boundaries, and many people struggle doing this. And this can lead to huge impact, not limited to burnout, low performance, stress leave, sick leave, mental health, etc.
With “always online” attitude, maintaining work-life balance has always been difficult, but COVID-19 and the work-from-home shift has made the issue more visible and even more prevalent. The temptation to quickly check email becomes that much stronger when you can’t tell where the office ends and home begins.
The outcome of research by CareerBuilder on motivation for checking email outside of working hours reveals the following.
- For more than half of workers aged 18-24, the motivation is a sense of obligation.
- For workers 55 and over, they stay connected out of choice.
Leaders need to set and lead by example. To communicate the importance of setting boundaries, it’s far more effective if the message comes from the top down. To lead by example, they should switch off from work at the weekends, and avoid communication with staff. This will send a clear message that it is healthy and important to enjoy quality time away from the pressures of the office.
Employees can also be encouraged not to organize meetings beyond 3pm, this is to give everyone enough time to wrap up their day after the meeting.
With encouragement, education and behaviour led from the top, everyone can switch off to stay switched on.
Reflect, rest and reset are the key elements that allow people to take control of their own happiness and performance. This will ultimately reduce stress in our every day lives.
The Third Space: According to Adam Fraser, this is the transitional gap in between what we do. And it showed that it’s not what we do, it’s what we do in between what we do that is most important.
For example, the best sales people used the Third Space between calls to get over the previous call and move into the next one with optimism and enthusiasm. Also, the best leaders used the Third Space between meetings. They use it to compose themselves and get their head space right and intentions clear for the next meeting.
Reflect on the previous space – the last event. Look at what have been achieved, and don’t focus on what has gone wrong. Compliment yourself on the positives from the event or meetings, acknowledge anything you could have improved on, and then move on.
Rest, pause, relax, and take a deep breath. Clear the mind, and catch your breath before the next activity.
Reset to heighten sense of control in preparation for the next space. Re-clarify your intention for the next space and what exact behaviours you need to exhibit to make the intention a reality. For example, when coming home from work, re-establish your intention for the home space and the specific behaviours you want to exhibit once you cross the threshold.