Effects of Social Distancing and Working from Home
In light of the current events in our community, I wanted to have a thoughtful discussion about the possible effects of social distancing and working from home might have on the perspective of business professionals that typically go to an office everyday for work.
When taking about this topic I think that a couple of main points arise. The changes of perspective on employees of companies, and the perspective of the companies themselves.
During this global pandemic, in a short period of time, many companies began to build out the infrastructure to support a work form home employee base. This mobile alternative to going into the office each day was largely not an option for many larger established companies. The norm was to have support staff, sales, marketing and whatever else under one roof. I think this was because it is hard to manage a team with out being in person. You don’t have the give and take that you get in a face to face conversation. The unsaid gestures and non-verbal communication that could be lost over the phone.
With the advent of streaming live technology, companies like Skype, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, etc. have made the cost of entry for mobile working very low. Since you are on video in real time, you don’t lose all of the non-verbal communication that might not transfer on the phone. And most of all you can communicated just as well as if you were in person.
As an employee of a company that never had the option of working Mobily, that now does have the option (through government action), I think that it will start to become more normal for people to work from home.
If you think about the mental shift of the employee, going from the normal office life setting to being mobile and virtual environment it really offers benefits to both sides. If you are sick but can still work, work form home. If you are trying to be home for an important package or a doctor’s appointment but still have work to do, work from home. There are many applications that can be utilized to mesh together the personal and professional aspects of someone’s life!
If we believe that the perspective for employees will begin to shift after this stint of social distancing, it is likely that it will for employers as well. If an employer does not have the communication risks (communication / production) associated with not being in person to deal with, what does that mean for their bottom line if they can utilize a mobile service staff, sales, HR, Marketing, etc. Imaging the amount of square footage that a business with let’s say 50 employees would need if 85% could work from home.
If we know anything about business, it is that the most efficient companies have the highest probability for success because they typically have the lowest overhead. This could be an opportunity for many businesses to lower their overall over head and possible increase the cashflow of their business if they would be willing to lease out unused portions of their newly acquired office space.
I don’t think that this change will happen over night or in a few weeks. But the point at which we find ourselves that I think is most important is the change in perception. It is the employee that comes back to the office and says to their manager, why couldn’t I just work from home? The sales rep that says, If I am available on Zoom, do I need to be in the office? To agree to this structure is to agree with the future of communication which is no less or more authentic. Just more convenient.
Josh Haselton – Principal Broker