There will be NO “New Normal” – WE will be Normal

July 2, 2020

After the last few months of navigating Covid-19 conditions, we can expect that the next 15-18 months will require patience as we wait for the virus to dissipate, for individuals to build antibodies and for vaccines to be developed.

 There has been much voiced and written about the “new normal”, when we can expect to work remotely, restaurants to have plexiglass walls between tables, and masks to be worn 24/7. I don’t subscribe to this vision of the future.

 Let’s stop to think about the past and current pandemics; yes, current pandemic! HIV/AIDS is still ongoing and has taken an estimated 25 to 35 million lives since its origin in 1981!

The human race has fought and won the war against pandemics since the dawn of time! The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. We will emerge from our businesses and homes as stronger people, smarter, and better prepared for the next pandemic. We will survive and thrive!

Much has been written about the wonders of working remotely. The authors of these articles are forgetting and missing many key factors:

  • Prior to COVID-19, there was a movement to pull back on remote workers. Too many employees were taking advantage of the lack of supervision and productivity suffered as a result. Corporate culture and community were becoming lost.
  • It is believed that working remotely will lead to increased productivity. However, this is only temporary and not sustainable. We cannot forget about the “Hawthorne Effect”. “The Hawthorne effect is a type of reactivity in which individuals modify an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed.” – Wiki. Turn up the lights, productivity increases; turn down the lights, productivity increases; neither are sustainable.
  • As a people, we are highly sociable, and we crave interaction. It builds our energy and creates community. Working remotely, individuals become isolated and lose critical people skills necessary for negotiating ideas and problem resolution.
  • We learn from each other in micro-sessions such as water-cooler discussions. How many times have you solved a problem during the post-meeting walk back to the offices, or executed the periscope maneuver to see if someone is in their office?
  • The building of networks-good rapport with the “go-to” person to eliminate red tape.
  • The informal board meetings for happy hour!

Sealing the Deal: It is difficult to read body language over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. That is why business relationships are built face-to-face. We must get to know the other person, establish trust, and solidify their commitment to the deal. Business is done with a handshake, signing an agreement/contract together, and sharing the victory. Remember the term, “Press the Flesh”? This is how business has been conducted for the better part 5,000 years; it’s not going to change anytime soon. It’s in our DNA.

None of the above key factors are achieved by working remotely or via video conferences.

There will be NO new normal!

Categorized in: Art of Change Series™