Will the Working From Home Trend Continue After Covid?

Speaking on the PMI Projectified podcast last month Lindsay Scott was asked:

“It seems like the year that we’ve lived through, it’s just going to change the way that organizations operate and the way that people work going forward, and I wonder what you anticipate those changes will be. How will the work of the future post-COVID look different than it did pre?”

Virtually and dispersed are certainly the keywords of 2020.

What I’m interested in here, though, is that we know that a lot of employees are quite happy to carry on working at home where they can. Especially ones that are used to commuting into the big cities and stuff. I think we’ve all seen the reports about how much happier, generally, people are on the whole about that.

But my concern around that is obviously, from an organization point of view, if that is going to be the case where a lot of workers will be at home and working virtually, is that the organizations will have access to a bigger pool of resources.

Because they don’t need to be picking people that work in the vicinity or within commutable distance.

Because I think what we’ve found over these last nine, ten months is we’ve been quick to be able to keep on collaborating online with each other. There’s that expectation that if the physical workspace does come back, I will expect to be able to split my time between those now.

Why should I be at my desk five days a week?

Which means that I think what’s also happened is that people have got into their heads that you don’t need to be in the office. You don’t need to be seen to be working. This is an output-based business. We need to be able to see the outputs, so that’s been a change.

But what is fascinating is we’re all talking about, yes, it’s been wonderful to work at home and, yes, projects are carrying on.

However, we haven’t been doing this long enough to actually see any kind of stories or outcomes, really, if performance has been affected. And actually, how many projects did get over the line, versus the projects that had to be canned because they didn’t work out?

We’ve not been hearing many stories yet, so is it a bit of a false sense that, yes, things are still happening? Yes, we’re still being able to work effectively? Not sure yet. I’ll be interested to see what falls out next year in terms of how organizations have actually managed to get projects out.

The other thing that I also think will be different, I hope, would be that CEOs have recognized that technology—certainly that what supports collaboration and people working together—has absolutely been crucial, and that their businesses would not been able to survive if they’d not been able to do that.

And luckily for them, there’s a lot of cheaper options and relatively easy to use.

But is it good enough? If we are going to carry on working in dispersed and virtual ways, especially with projects all over the world, are these things good enough? Or is this now the time to think, “We’ve seen how these things can work; let’s spend some money on making them better”?

You can listen to Lindsay speaking on the Projectified podcast in full here>>>

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