The corona pandemic has confronted us with very strange times – everything seems to be changing and everything we thought was true is now tested to the core. Whole companies have gone “remote”. Complete ecosystems (like hospitality) have gone into a forced sleeping mode. I am convinced we will come out of this crisis stronger and wiser – as always in the history on humanity.
Some learnings from the corona pandemic are already obvious today:
Online meetings and business travel will find a new balance
80% of in-person meetings are obsolete and redundant. With all my business activities I always promote a “Meet less, meet smarter” approach. Using remote meetings actually makes implementing this rule a lot easier. No-one wants to sit 60 minutes in a video call that does not add value to the company or your work. Switching to Video (not phone) forces meeting participants to be more efficient. There are a lot of systems out there – from Jeff Bezos’ to Elon Musk’s meeting rules. The most efficient have some things in common:
- Avoid big meetings – No larger than 2 pizzas to feed all participants
- Rethink the value of every meeting to reduce the number of meetings. Remember – meeting time is mostly non-productive time.
- Prepare each meeting with a shared (Google drive, Shared Word doc) structured memo, where the agenda and a short summary in consolidated in advance.
- Start with silence. At the beginning of the meeting, everyone in the room has 5-10 minutes to read through the document and prepare their thoughts.
- If you do not add value to the meeting, leave and go on with productive work.
Remote work is productive work
Most of the office work can be done from anywhere, when you have the right tools and the right culture in place. There are always toxic (micro-)managers, where physical presence is synonymous with the perceived contribution. These people need to rethink their perceptions. On the employee side, there are always those that will misinterpret remote with a “do less” attitude. To implement a working remote and distributed culture it is fundamental to build a framework of processes, culture and tool to support maximum remote productivity. There are some big players out there that have mastered remote to the extent that they do not even need offices anymore (AirBnB, Automattic)
The right tools are heavily dependent on the size and structure of the company. In most cases, a well-structured combination of cloud software that plugs into each other with lightweight laptops will do the job.
Even though I founded a virtual desktop company nearly ten years ago, I am convinced that a VDI infrastructure can only be a bridging technology towards a world of connected online tools. VDI can be a quick fix for old and heavy IT setups, that still have to undergo the change towards an “App” and connected Cloud-based world.
Our education systems are out of date
Modern companies can switch to a home office and remote without losing a lot of traction. Our schooling system purely relies on physical presence and just imploded under the crisis.
Our education system needs to be up to date with our society. Some 20 years ago the educational system has lost connection to the speed of society and technological development. When whole companies with thousands of employees can train their staff online and remote including testing and certification, why does the educational sector just go into sleep mode, if the students can not physically meet in a building?
When science speaks, we should listen
Science is something to be listened to. The current situation with people sitting at home, not being able to live their normal lives feels heavy and depressing. But what would be the alternative? Science has always been a (more or less) reliable source of “what if” scenarios. So when science tells us, that the pandemic could cause a break down of our health system, we need to act. The same is true for nature – if science tells us that our environment is at a tipping point, we should be listening.
Digital Evolution is not a choice.
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