Gone are the days of the 9 to 5 workplace. Think of the single mom that is dressing, feeding, and organizing her kids, while trying to take care of herself and her workload. One of her children isn’t getting the math concept and she has just jumped in to help. The soup on the stove is boiling over and she’s nowhere near the computer at 11:30AM. After a hectic day, she’s got the kids to bed and the last load of laundry in before heading back to the computer to finish the report before the virtual meeting tomorrow morning. It didn’t matter whether the work got done at 2:00PM or 10:00PM, it just mattered that it got done, and was done well.
Are they wearing pants? We’d like to think so but can’t be too sure. What we’re realizing is that people are people and the idea of perfection is gone. Good riddance. The past weeks have forced us to take our masks of perfection off. Without time to prepare for the shift from office to home, we’ve all seen messy homes and apartments, kids running around in the background, unidentifiable noises that are frustrating but forgiving, and the odd stain on a shirt. The forgivingness we’re seeing today will help shape the workplace of tomorrow and allow people to do their best when they can, however they can. Because of this, work and life will be even more blended. On our team calls, we’ll be introduced to pets, kids, and significant others bringing even more humanity to the new office. This better understanding of each other’s lives will become a foundation for even better empathy and community being built in the future as we won’t just be the professionals we are; we’ll be a member of a family, owner of a pet, and a human as well.
Finally, we’ll see that because more people are able to work remotely, flexibly, and on their own time, that virtual events and connection with people will be appreciated more than we’ve seen before. We’ll see a variety of smaller virtual team events, interdepartmental meetings, and industry expos added to calendars. This growth in the virtual events sector will allow people the opportunity to interact and connect with the people they’ve been working with on a regular basis, share best practices, and strengthen relationships. These virtual events will be partially educational, but largely an opportunity to celebrate, connect, and share.
If there is something we’ve learned from the past few weeks, it is that these unprecedented times have accelerated what we thought the future of work was going to look like. We’ve learned that we can trust people, that they can get their work done from anywhere, and that in-person connection and community is craved. If one thing is clear, it’s that we’re well on our way to a more vibrant, inclusive and connected workplace culture.