Collaborative Post¦ There’s been an awful amount of talk about everything we’ve lost this past year. Jobs, money, businesses and yes in some cases, sadly, lives too. We’ve had our entire human existence changed manifestly in ways that our models might have been able to predict and also in ways that no scientist alive could have even contemplated.
So now that we’re only just starting to count the cost of this past year, we’re starting to learn more and less about our collective humanity, we’ve also been presented with an opportunity that we’ll (hopefully) only ever be presented with at one time in our lives:
Ladies, gentlemen and everyone else, we present: “The Great Reset Button”
#1 THE WORK FROM HOME REVOLUTION
To our mind, without a doubt, the singular best thing to come out of this pandemic is that all of our bosses have finally figured out that we DON’T need monitoring 7.9 out of 8 hours a day. Now, as with all things in Britain, not all statistics are created equal. We still have many problems to sort out, because it turns out that those who can work from home, are also largely those who can work from home. In other words, have high-speed data connections, dedicated workspaces and computers, laptops, tablets and printers.
Now, this article is from South Africa but it still has some very interesting facts about it. Even as far afield in South Africa one of the biggest private healthcare insurers managed to have the vast majority of their workers set up and working from home, and they got it right within days.
But one of the best things to come out of working from home is that British families rediscovered each other. We learned how blissful it can be to have both parents at home or the primary parent at home, more of the time. No more guesswork went into what to cook for tea but on the more serious side, there was no “delayed discipline” under the guise of “just wait until your father/mother gets home”. (Yes, that’s still a thing).
We’ve saved millions of collective hours commuting to work and back and some have even decided to sell their London pads and take the cash having no further use of a pied-a-terre away from their primary home.
Then, of course, there was the unadulterated pleasure of all: sleeping past 06:00. When last did you get to do that…on purpose. There are loads of data online taken from thousands of sources so go take a read if you’re still only thinking about it.
#2 DIFFERENT STROKES
As a business owner, the one thing that you want more than anything else is a staff that can make critical decisions based on skill, available information and…guts. And this past year has taught so many of us that we’re actually far more capable than we thought we were. This has seen a rather dramatic rise in output for many different companies as more staff are put in the position where they find that they become the decision-maker with the “boss” being not just a chair ride away.
Over and above the individual impacts, which are plenty, companies have also come to understand that while employees are necessary, offices are not and this is saving organisations billions of pounds all over the world, but has also had the unintended consequence of leaving major offices blocks empty.
#3 TECHNOLOGY WORKING FOR US
Finally, all these odd little gadgets, wireless charging stations and … well “stuff” are all starting to make sense. This is technology at its best, this is where we (of a certain age in some cases) have finally had the impetus to start engaging with the wonderful world of technology. We hold major multi-national meetings at home in the comfort of our living rooms (sometimes to hilarious effect as more and more online videos emerge of pantsless Dads taking a stroll through the house). Look, there are always going to be risks and problems in any change to business and with all things, you need to employ the right amount of change management to make sure that this type of scenario is going to for you.
#4 THE RISE AND RISE OF ALTRUISM
This may seem (at first) as an inevitable consequence of what we’ve all been through, but it only seems that way. There have been many times in history where we didn’t have a collective, unified response to an existential threat, the rise of Nazism for example.
Though on the extreme end of the example scale, it is nevertheless still correct and one of the best things to come out of this pandemic, is the reminding to each of us, that none of us are islands and that after all is said and done, we still are – human, every one of us. It’s been incredibly encouraging to see Serbs reaching out to Croats and Russians to Ukrainians and who can forget that awe-inspiring scene of Andrea Bocelli belting out Amazing Grace, all on his lonesome in Milan?
Charities are doing better than ever and we’ve been able to reach more of the needy than ever before too and not just those affected by Covid but by those who were already sick, downtrodden and starving but, it’s not nearly enough (but it is getting there).
#5 WE ARE FAMILY
We’ve also started learning about who is truly important in our lives and that doesn’t necessarily mean the family we’re born into. Friends are the families we choose after all and during this pandemic, there has been a global sense of “separating the chaff from the wheat” and that is always a good idea. In our form of modern living where “friends” can be made in an instant on social media, we’ve forgotten the sacred notion of the word “friend”. It’s not just something nice one says, it comes with it a range of rights and responsibilities and humanity has learned all of this now in very grand style indeed.
Of particular interest are those who have family and friends abroad, suddenly seemingly arbitrary things like “time zones” and work schedules didn’t matter anymore and isn’t this what we’re supposed to be working towards anyway?
#6 GOING NOWHERE SLOWLY
Just why were we moving so fast anyway? This side of 20 years ago average flying times to the biggest destinations in the globe were around a third longer than they are now, and yet – did it matter? Foreign airlines like United have signed deals with supersonic provider “Boom”. Do we really have to make it to Tokyo from LAX in 8 hours? Don’t misunderstand, progress and efficiency mean streamlined access and greater profits and in a perfect world should lead us to more time with those we love, but we know this won’t be the case – a saved 3 hours in the air will mean 3 extra hours at the office.
But overall, the greatest benefit of this entire benefit (to our minds anyway) must be that we’ve all finally learned that life at 120 m/ph is simply not necessary and even less than necessary, desirable.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF IT ALL
Everyone has and did experience the impact of the pandemic differently, and we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Once the media-driven paranoia has calmed down, we’re all going to learn about what we’ve been through and how it’s changed us but we’re not going to delve into the “less than perfects”. Rather we want to look at what’s going right or well. Alternative ways of working and connecting with loved ones and realising how transient it all is. Take a look at this photograph of Delhi in India pre and during lockdown:
You get it, right?
All over the world, people who before were not all that interested in global warming or climate change, now have a frame of reference as to what their cities could look like and this has spurred a massive interest in how we manage waste and release carbon emissions into the air.
All of the smart folks at universities have been working out new ways to improve the health and safety of home-based working conditions because this new trend doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon.
Good eating, good fitness, good connections and good experiences have all taken us through this period, the sky as it happens, did not fall and that may be our best lesson to come out of these lockdowns yet, we’re stronger, smarter and more resilient then what we thought we were and already this has shown an increase in the number of parents that are going to continue homeschooling their children.
The question really should be, why does it take something like this to bring us all closer together? As we mentioned earlier, when all the dust is settled, we’ll know more and less about our collective human condition.
In fact, the answer has been there all along. Just ask our friends from Italy – all we really need to do was just stand on the balcony…and sing.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.