What the Pandemic Showed Us About Work Productivity

by birtanpublished on October 5, 2020

So tell us a bit more about the survey what what are your clients telling you about the lessons learned from this pandemic and what does it tell us about the future of work post coving uh thanks yvonne and i'm i'm happy to be here thanks for uh thanks for inviting me uh first of all i think uh you said it started the white-collar workforce obviously uh um essential workers a lot have been continuing to work at the company locations but it was the pivot of the white collar

Workforce that really characterized the first half of this year and today it's still 70 percent although obviously it's coming back in a few countries around the world i think what all of our clients and us ourselves as a uh as a white-collar workforce company you know have found that we have been able to migrate work uh probably exceeding our expectations to be done on these virtual uh remote platforms

Uh more than we expected and so uh we've all had to adjust and our clients are doing that and there's a reasonable amount of variation by country by type of job by the mindset of the individual employee but uh but by and large it's uh it succeeded expectations that you know work can be done this way and then we'll see now what happens as we get through covet and out to the other side not just for advisory services like yourself but we're seeing it in

Retailers this whole trend of an omni-channel way of working now is that equally good for everyone manny is there a way of working is this way working better for certain businesses versus others how can you tell i think what you'll find yvonne is that it's going to be a a large variability in in how it actually works uh for different job functions frankly from different mindsets based on your home situation so we use the term omnichannel if you look at what happened to retail industry

As a maybe as an analog there are things you want to buy via e-commerce and there are things you still want to go to a physical store for and and that that mix uh is uh is now applying to uh to actual professional work um some things uh clearly you can you can do arguably better via all of these um remote work uh platforms and some things you still need to be able to have the physical interaction and meet

Whether it's deep relationship building or collaboration that requires a physical proximity so there's not going to be a one-size-fits-all i think what we're finding as you reference in the survey is that um each company is going to have to adapt to a world that won't be the same as what it was last year and um and it will be a mix so this this idea of omnichannel work uh with uh with meaningful um adjustments and agility for different

Kinds of your workforce some of it by the way is not just the nature of the different jobs it's the mindset of people as you know some people actually as you said are enjoying working from home and feel they're more productive and yet another group feel they're less productive for for different reasons so everyone has to create that each company has to create its own its own portfolio of how work will evolve you know as we are too let's pick up on productivity many i

Mean the pandemic forced everyone to be productive and since then uh you know some companies are already wanting their workers uh back in the office because productivity has fallen uh the banks uh among those wanting the workers back what is the best model to maintain productivity and build resilience at the same time i would say uh slender the companies have actually seen um various lessons in the last few months

They're finding that there are pockets where you actually can be more productive and there's some intrinsic reasons why you'd be more productive remote you uh and you're finding you have less commute time people are finding uh creation of documents to make meetings happen speed of decision making um there are challenges as well as it's gone later where some employees feel i can't get into that that work mindset and so there's this issue of

Individual productivity which can be variable and actually the productivity of the teams and so what we're finding um companies are doing this they want to get the benefit of the the lessons how did we get more effective agile decision making uh during the last few months and bring it back as they're going back to corporate headquarters and then they also want to fix and adjust what uh what made it less productive and probably the

Some of the best things we see are to uh to actually work in this more in this more agile way get get smaller groups of people working together either physically or virtually and and have the right tools to make a decision making fast because one thing that is consistent when com whether companies have been working remote or coming back for in this mixed world every company recognizes we have to move faster we have to make decisions better and we have to adjust to a lot higher

Levels of uncertainty in the in the quarters to come and that requires this um you know as you said this agile and resilient mindset many to that end uh facebook posted an opening for director of remote work how do i guess companies use this pandemic to better transform their businesses well um it's an uh some of our clients have actually said this is an opportunity most companies have been

On some kind of digital transformation agenda anyway to take advantage of all the technologies we have to just run our businesses more efficiently and so the the reason this is and this is a period of opportunities if if you look at this underlying virtual remote technologies that will be at least a meaningful part of how work is done that's uh that's an opportunity to potentially move faster and companies are finding um they could

Do this it's a it's actually been a source of surprise to many how seamless it is and so when uh when new jobs get created like a director of remote work and that's consistent with all the ways companies are saying we need to have um a real investment in making this aspect of our workforce um you know much much much more important and that's why those jobs are created just like you know years ago companies were creating chief digital officers or chief sustainability

Officers that's typically a sign of how important this is to a company's agenda when an executive position gets created for this exact topic and we see that happening quite consistently

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