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What to Expect When the Pandemic Ends
January 12,2021 [ by Larry Chao ] 164 Read and 0 Comment

As the pandemic eases, it seems some form of ‘work from home’ will remain in place and business travel and face-to-face meetings will skyrocket, as people recover from cabin fever.
As we gyrate through recovery mode in early 2021, two outcomes from the pandemic are apparent: First, that remote work from home will stay with us, and second that there will be a resurgence of business travel and face-to-face meetings.
Resurgence of Travel and Meetings
Our informal survey suggests that managers yearn for travel and the opportunity for face-to-face meetings with each other and with customers. In fact, the most popular answers to the question: “What changes do you want to see returned back to the way they were before the pandemic,” were face-to-face meetings and travel.
But business travel and meetings might not return to the same levels as before. Look for companies to cut back on meetings that can just as easily be done virtually. For example, local town hall quarterly meetings that often use hotel venues might be scaled back in favour of virtual town halls where the whole company can participate online. Travel, particularly international travel, might also receive more scrutiny as many businesses were able to survive without them, or at least at a very reduced rate in 2020.
At the very least, companies will carefully review whether travel and face-to-face meetings are truly important and if they are, they will make sure that attendees gain the most out of these encounters than ever before. Expect the frequency of offsite meetings to go down, but their quality to go up.
Ongoing Remote Working
When asked what changes would people like to see made permanent after the pandemic is over, the overwhelming response was remote working. The most popular reasons for why people chose remote working varied from reduced commuting time to better concentration and productivity at home.
Most people felt the option to work from home two or three days a week was reasonable. Few wanted either 100 percent work from home or 100 percent working in the office. It seems the pandemic accelerated a trend that had started pre-crisis, where some companies had already begun experimenting with work from home, so this should not be a difficult transition to make.
It remains to be seen how long and to what degree we will retain remote working. On one hand it offers people more flexibility and personal time. On the other hand, it is difficult to manage performance. Whether people are more productive is still not clear. Moreover, with so many people out of the office, the challenge will be how to retain a healthy work culture and how to coordinate and manage all the different schedules and priorities. Finally, different jobs might be easier to do remotely than others. This will require companies to look at different plans for different types of work.

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