The impact of WFH beyond technology
Businesses are being amazingly adaptable to the COVID-19 crisis, what will the social implications be to virtualizing and isolating the workforce?
We have all found that a global pandemic can turn our world upside down in an unfathomably short period of time. As the world closes its doors to physical proximity between us businesses have had to go virtual, virtually overnight! In my state everything took a distinctive turn on Friday the 13th! It was then that most employees of the state’s businesses and schools were asked to work from home the following Monday and the capability for business to support that direction on little to no notice in my eyes has been amazing.
In my world, as a Senior Analyst at Celent, much of my work is home based so the work from home recommendation in support of isolating wasn’t a dramatic change for me. However, for the three twenty-somethings I have around me and the respective companies they work for it’s quite different. Take my son and son-in-law for example, both are developers for large insurance companies. Both have worked remotely from time to time so the companies they work for were already set up, at least to some degree, to handle a remote workforce. Those companies have had to quickly extend their remote capabilities to most if not all of their workforce. Each company has also communicated to them the option for all employees to work from home. This option, although not yet mandatory has become a strong recommendation in support of social distancing.
My daughter and a couple of others in my family are educators. My daughter is a middle school teacher who has never worked from home. Her school, like many globally, had to quickly pivot to become a virtual provider of education to save the semester from falling into summer. They don’t have the option of going to school they must work from home. Using a mix of tools like Google Classroom, educreations and Zoom my daughter's school was able to adapt almost seamlessly. Google Classroom is used to post assignments and assessments, kids can download the work or write in the pdf, then upload to “turn-in” the work. Once this is accomplished my daughter is notified by email when each assignment is turned in. She can also schedule the posting of assignments to be delivered when she desires. Zoom is being used for live and interactive tutoring sessions. Educreations is used to upload learning videos that my daughter has been creating on a daily basis and has an online whiteboard for writing examples and visual problem solving. After week 1 my daughter was exhausted but happy with the results.
As I stated earlier the business pivot has been amazing and my hats off to all involved in either having their business prepared or quickly transforming the business for the new global paradigm. What I think will be most interesting is the social experiment that follows in the coming weeks or months. Already each of my traditionally social group of twenty-somethings say they are bored in their non-work related hours. A week of streaming shows, movies and video games has already gotten old. The normal weekend of social activity is almost non-existent. It will be interesting to see the business and social effects on productivity. I know this is a small sample set but all my kids involved are eager to share.
I will be following up with a weekly blog and look forward to all of your contributing observations as you virtualize your working life.
How has your company adopted to the new working guidelines?
What is your companies approach to collaboration?
How has your work life changed?
How has this affected your productivity and how has working from home affected others of your family that are in the workforce?
What are your challenges in the new paradigm?
I plan to report on responses each week for as long as social isolating lasts. All inputs will be anonymous. Once we recover from the COVID-19 crisis, and we will!, I will be authoring a comprehensive report on our findings.
To comment, please email me directly at KRaymond@celent.com