How to bring the best of lockdown into your work
Many of us have fresh experiences of working from home. And while #WFH will remain a trendy hashtag for a long time yet, some of us will be making the journey back to shared offices in the months to come.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could hold onto the best elements from our domestic professional arrangements, along with the most valuable aspects of being face-to-face in person again?
With a dollop of imagination, we can apply what we’ve been learning to a richer future, in meetings, workshops, conferences – and beyond.
While it’s not all roses, there have been upsides to working from home. Here are the three main strands that groups of businesses I’ve been researching say they have enjoyed about the WFH experience to date:
Commuters were suddenly released from the insidious stress of crowded trains and relentless car journeys. For longer distances, we’re not subjected to the dehumanising processing of airports – not to mention the savings on airfares and relief to our environment. Instead of journeys being an unthinking default, we’ll assess the merits of each trip.
Reaching out to people more widely
With online meetings, we can include people who wouldn’t have been there in face-to-face interactions. At best, we’ve been prompted to build and develop new communities – with more people and from further afield. We’ll benefit from nurturing these extended connections that bring refreshing diversity into our discussions.
Covid and WFH have forced us more or less willingly into new patterns of working. Schedules have shifted, and there’s no easy return to the defaults of old timetables inherited from a tradition of people roped together physically on an assembly line. We’ve been paradoxically forced into flexibility – taking us to the start of complex new negotiations between leaders of organisations and their staff, and between service providers and their customers. These will define our next set of commercial arrangements.
The ‘Next Normal’
All of the above have resonated for me during discussions with clients about what they want to keep in the future.
While many businesses and companies begin this journey into the ‘Next Normal’, here are a few examples of how we have incorporated the three strands into practical strategies for a facilitated conference:
Last year it was a two-day in-person gathering in Bangkok. This year we’ve designed a virtual three days, to be hosted jointly by small groups based in Switzerland and Nairobi.
The only travel is for small groups who prefer to gather in their most local offices to present a workshop together.
We’re reaching many participants – and presenters – who wouldn’t have attended if it had meant travelling.
The pace is slower, alternating intensive sessions with plenty of recovery breaks. Our agenda reflects the increased flexibility from connecting online, with everyone able to drop in and out as they prefer.
If you are putting together a virtual conference, event or meeting, and want to ensure design and hosting that gives everyone a contemporary ‘Next Normal’ experience, send us an email today: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a discovery call.
Equally if you’re not sure what your ‘Next Normal’ looks like, do get in touch. We’d be happy to chat.
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