People are beginning to try to build a picture of what the new normal will look like
How are businesses and charities going to repair the enormous damage done to their organisations? Answers are needed and time’s of the essence.
One thing’s for sure; there’s going to be a lot of people wanting to get back to their offices and places of work. There’s also going to be a lot of people who’ve decided they’d rather like to continue working from home.
Predictions vary; Mark Zuckerberg believes that half of Facebook’s staff will end up working from home. That’s a lot of people, with huge implications for spare office capacity.
Having said that, there’s a lot of people who can’t wait to get back to their desks. We have 3 camps emerging; those who are keen on the idea of home working, those who aren’t, and a lot of people in the middle.
Both staff and their bosses need to give this some considered thought. There are serious implications:
            – Will a two-tier workforce emerge? How will this affect morale and commitment?
            – How will career opportunities be affected? Can a level playing field be maintained?
            – Will discrimination arise in promotion opportunities and pay scales?
            – Will a ‘them and us’ mentality emerge; how will company unity be fostered?
This last could lead to some interesting scenarios. Meetings, once face to face are now taking place on Zoom. How will this continue. So as not to disadvantage the homeworkers will it lead to people in the same building interacting by video rather than face to face?
All this needs a lot of careful thought and planning, and probably a lot of experimentation. What is certain is that a major tectonic change has been imposed upon us. Things will never revert to what they were and we all have to find a new normal.
Some organisations have already decided that the new normal will be online meetings, regardless of whether their staff work in the building or elsewhere.
So much then for open plan working, it could be back to the cubicles, Dilbert style.
So, will there be a huge surplus of office space? In the short term there may well be, with so many organisations likely to fall by the wayside. Certainly smaller premises will be needed. With so many more charities needing our support we plan significant expansion over coming months and years. But we won’t have the same need of office space.
The challenge for us is how to retain unity, keep communications sweet and morale high. Let’s start the planning now. And let’s share our thoughts and ideas. I’d like to hear from you.
Daryl Martin
June 2020

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