Whilst Covid-19 has been a time of uncertainty and difficulty for many people, families and organisations, it has presented a unique opportunity. We are getting the chance to reflect and consider some of the positives that could come out of lockdown. We have already proven that when faced with no other choice, we can adapt quickly, so why should this stop after lockdown?
Here are some of the positives that we think could come out of this:
Improved health & wellbeing
People are enjoying much more ‘me’ time and getting to do things they never normally have the time to do. High on the lists are spending time with family, exercising, spending ‘me’ time in the house and so much more. Whilst this has been restricted to home during the lockdown, the possibilities of getting some more ‘me’ time should still be embraced when this is over. Whether this is family time, further learning, hobbies or social activities the possibilities for investing in our physical and mental health are endless. There are knock on benefits though - it can lead to increased productivity in our roles, as people are more relaxed and motivated. As a result of less travel, there is less stress associated with morning and evening routines which also improves health & wellbeing.
During this period, people have had to set and adapt to non-standard working hours to accommodate family and other personal commitments. By doing so, people have demonstrated that there is a work/life balance to be had that can suit personal circumstances, whilst also ensuring productivity and delivery for the business and our clients. With attitudes already starting to change in the last few years, will Covid-19 become a catalyst for further progressive change? Will this ultimately make the 9 to 5 core hours obsolete?
With less travel comes less CO2 emissions. This has a wider impact towards climate change and zero carbon policies, which most organisations are now targeting. People are saving money, travel time to and from work and to and from meetings. The positive impact on the environment unquestionable (just lean out the window and hear how the traffic noise is reduced) and has the potential to reduce journeys and demand peaks on public transport networks.
Change in how we use technology
We are realising that not all meetings require to be held face to face and we are now starting to use technology to its full potential. Basically, we are working smarter to achieve the same results. Whilst face to face will likely always be a requirement for a number of key meetings, there is an opportunity to consider if this is always necessary. Our time in meetings could be reduced and used more productively elsewhere, adding value for clients and efficiency to project delivery whilst also reducing some of our personal stresses.
Organisations may no longer need as much office space. Of that there is no question. If we grasp this opportunity and embrace a move to agile working then our businesses will see reduced overhead costs. Getting the office environment right will be key to the success here. Perhaps we will see the traditional desk space drop away and replaced with touch-down spaces and agile zones where we can collaborate with colleagues. Our quiet zones will be the home offices we have all created in recent weeks. As with the points above, if travel can be reduced this is also a potential opportunity to save on project expenses.
Long distance collaborations
Again by embracing technology, we have now demonstrated that field experts can be located anywhere in the world and still be in a position to serve the client / project requirements to their full potential. For a worldwide organisation like Faithful+Gould and Atkins, this change in mindset will bring massive benefit for our clients. Collaboration within the business allows the opportunity to offer new services and bring added value for clients.
Ultimately, the meaning of work has changed for many people. We are remembering that we do not just work for money. Some of us will have realised that our career is part of our identity, a purpose or a symbol of independence that may not have always been appreciated. Life after lockdown will never be the same, but do we really want it to be the same?