Will Covid-19 Change our Workplace?

WFH – Working from Home

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It’s the modern age and many companies still aren’t allowing people to work from home.  There are many reasons companies believe that working from an office is better.  At this point, it doesn’t matter why.  What matters is how companies are going to manage with the new way of work.

I challenge the idea that most companies will forever change their working from home practices as a result of Covid-19.   I believe they SHOULD change but I don’t know that this event will change the behavior.

Here is why:

  1. Company policy and fundamentals:  Are senior C-level corporate leaders actually plugged into how people work?
  2. Corporate investment:  Will companies have the ability to see the opportunity of cost savings and productivity?  Will they be able to recognize and understand the differences in strategy from a technical perspective?
  3. Higher costs upfront: Will companies look at the cost increase in “run” as an indication for long term costs?  In other words, will they see the increased costs from this event as a risk?  Will they evaluate and understand the longer-term strategic implications?
    1. Building and Infrastructure
    2. Network
    3. Supply
    4. Power
    5. Insurance
    6. This list goes on and on.

If we consider the real world actual costs for the long term,  working from home would lower costs and increase productivity.   This approach also is aligned with the vision of companies like Microsoft as I have written in previous blog posts.

At a high level,  I believe that companies will realize the benefit of provisioning and managing identity and data.   These will be the two focus areas in the workplace of the future.   Companies will provide an identity and seek to containerize the data connected to the identity.     Here is an example:

  1. I look for a job as (Howie Cohen – Howiecohen@xx.com) personal home identity. I work in technical ecosystems like LinkedIn and my own productivity accounts.
  2. I interact with different companies as apply for work,  I use my howiecohen@xx.com to register with Taleo, Workday, etc.
  3. I am hired into my new company and I am provided howiecohen@yourcompany.com
  4. I may or may not be provided a stipend for a computing device or a device.  (Bring your own pants to work)  The expectation of employers today is that you come with clothing, it is moving toward the same direction with technology.  You have required clothing you wear, you may have required technical conditions as part of the employee agreement.
  5. I work from where I am.  Companies will look at outcome-based work and collaboration patterns which may include shared screens, chat, IM, video and audio collaboration.  An individual would be responsible to make sure they have met network and computing requirements in order to have the ability to use their identity.
  6. I remote into data centers, VPN or compartmentalized environments for powerful compute, large data sets and protected systems or capabilities.
  7. I represent myself and manage my work with multiple identities in public.  We do this today.  On social networks, if you identify yourself as an employee of a company even with your personal identity, you need to manage yourself as an ambassador of your company.  If you choose to keep yourself socially disassociated, you may have a bit more flexibility.  I said “may” because companies today expect that you are you wherever you are and that you are always an ambassador.

Will Covid-19 Accelerate Us?

I don’t think it will.   I believe most companies will learn about their ability to support remote work.  I think this will be a wake-up call in regard to understanding collaboration technologies.  I believe there will be learning!  I don’t believe it will change things that much in the near future.  If this situation drags out for longer than expected, which is more than a few weeks to a month, it will have an impact but once we have the ability to get back into the office, many will go back to the existing policy.

That said, I am hoping this will drive change in our thinking about working from home or working remotely.  I believe people should have more of a flexible work opportunity in working from anywhere as long as it is consistent with their ability to deliver!

What do you think?


One thought on “Will Covid-19 Change our Workplace?

  1. I think it may change depending on the time the “forced” working from home lasts. Permanent change takes time. If companies see little difference in productivity, it might stick.


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