Carly Considers: Going Back to Brick & Mortar

Has your company decided it’s time for people to go back to the office? What does that look like? Desks further apart? Briefer in-person meetings? Alternating work schedules with a co-worker to limit capacity in the office?  Depending on your state, even gyms are beginning to open!

With so many companies having figured out how to work remotely in the last 4 months – are they going to completely trade-in their high-rent brick & mortar office space for a permanent remote alternative?  Or maybe they choose to weave virtual work life in as part of their company’s culture?

Whatever your personal or work situation, it feels like things are moving forward… and yet, at a snail’s pace. We can leave the house more often and do more outdoors– because the weather is nice.  Yet, as we think about the Fall and school year ahead, we realize – we haven’t progressed as much as we thought. We are still IN this pandemic and the only things that have changed are our ability to adapt to socializing outside, finding different ways to get a break from it all, and adapting to a different style of work life.

Unexpected Growth Right Now

We have learned a lot through quarantine times – as employers and as workers.  I’m reminded that growth is painful, uncomfortable and sometimes seems to find us even when we didn’t know we needed it.  For many of us, “quarantine time” has been synonymous with “growth time”, which means we need to take our learnings into the future – to apply them when we are able to resume interaction with people regularly and in ‘normal’ fashion.

This growth period forced some otherwise resistant employers to try things differently – and most likely, there is SOMEthing you’ve done that worked better than before.

It might be that your team CAN be productive when working remote, without a commute. Or maybe it’s that new environments make your team think outside the box and more creatively.

Keep on Keeping On

The reality is, quarantine times are not over – and we don’t know when they will be over. So, while some offices may be opening and we can socialize more due to warmer weather, we won’t be “on the other side” of this until sometime next year (hopefully).

As a result, we need to keep the creativity flowing and continue to evolve our work environments – embracing and building upon what is working and moving quickly away from what isn’t.  And, in the back of our minds, be thinking about how to hang onto our learnings, and to the good that results from this “growth phase” for when we ARE technically able to resume our old ways.

The “other side” doesn’t have to mean working  9-5, five days a week in the office.  We’ve learned there are a lot of different ways to manage our teams, to be productive and to recognize that we all have personal AND professional lives to balance.

So, with a clean slate, I ask you – what is the best mix for your team so they can  be the highest functioning team that they can be?  What will you take from this unprecedented moment in our lives into a life beyond quarantine?

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