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Two Changes to Expect When the Pandemic Ends
January 14,2021 [ by Larry Chao ] 730 Read and 0 Comment

As the pandemic eases, not much is certain but two trends are likely: 1) some form of ‘work from home’ will remain in place, and 2) business travel and face-to-face meetings will skyrocket, as people seek relief 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 two 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. Apparently, the need to re-connect with others face-to-face has been building over time.

The frequency of travel, however, might be less as companies look to retain cost savings. 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 essential and if they are, they will make sure that attendees gain the most out of them than ever before. So expect the frequency of travel and offsite meetings to be less than pre-pandemic, but the demand for higher quality meeting experiences to be more.

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 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 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.

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. Whether people will be more productive individually and as teams is still unclear.

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