Covid 19 and the connected world

After reading an article about the effects of the pandemic in Nepal, I got thinking about how we are significantly more connected than we were 100 years ago and even 20 years ago.

We’re aware of what is happening in our own city, country and continent but also around the rest of the world too. We’re finding out things that maybe 50 years ago, we’d never have known about.

There are so many benefits to this increased connection.

Being more connected has changed the way we experience life. Physically travelling has become more and more accessible but we’re also more connected by technology (emails, internet and social media etc.). It’s this that allows you to know about what’s going on in Nepal even though it’s over 4000 miles away from where you live.

Post-lockdown in the office

I’ve recently had a few conversations about going back to work and what that will look like.

For some that worked in offices they were able to continue at home whilst for others things grounded to a halt and have remained so for the past couple of months.

From the way things look, it appears that even though things are starting to open up again, we will not be going to back to the normal that we once knew.

With social distancing set to become our new way of living, the office environment can no longer remain the same.

Lunch – The eating space can no longer be a social space used to catch up and get away from your desk. Tables and chairs would need to be re-organised to ensure social distancing remains. It’ll probably be more convenient to just eat at your desk.

Meetings – In the past few months all meetings have been held over video or changed to a phone call, I think this will remain. Travelling for client meetings will no longer be a priority, unless perhaps done so by car. Team meetings work well whilst we’re all at home but this will not translate well into a socially distanced office. We’ll need to think about how we can have group discussions in a private place whilst still maintaining distance.

Hot-desking – Something that was implemented as the new way of working and that marked a rise in the flexibility of the 9-5 is now at risk of being eradicated. We’ll still have the flexibility in work hours but the space we work in will stay the same, the less stuff shared the better.

As you can see, it’ll be a challenge to maintain any sort of normal office environment with social-distancing. An office, like many other work spaces is built on people coming together.

What does this change mean for the future of working and how can we adapt to ensure we’re working in spaces that meet our needs both individually and collectively?

Will we still have meetings post-pandemic?

A while from now we’ll be living in a post pandemic world. Companies and businesses will have to make decisions about the way they will choose to work moving forward.

Presentations, discussions, conversations and updates are all being done remotely when normally they’d have required meetings.

Those meetings may have involved: a journey to another city by car or train, a large group when only a small few were needed or time wasted because it could have easily been a 10 minute conversation over the phone.

But when the world goes back to the office, back to the normal 9 to 5 lifestyle, I have no doubt that there will still be unnecessary meetings.

And so a question worth pondering on is, ‘Why do we meet when we know we don’t need to?’

If you had a time machine…

The idea of going back in time and making better decisions, saying yes instead of no and being in the right place at the right time is quite appealing.

Maybe you think your life would improve tenfold if only you could go back and change a few little things.

Perhaps your right but the thing is time travel isn’t possible.

It might be much more useful to give some thought to what you can do today to cultivate the life you want right now.

Instead of wishing your present circumstances away commit yourself to changing them.

Our life paths aren’t linear so just because you went down road A initially, doesn’t mean you don’t still have access to almost every other road.

45 Minute friendship

So there we were 2 strangers on the train sitting in first class. The train had come to a standstill as there were some issues at the train ahead.

We heard a voice over the loudspeaker suggesting that depending on our destination we should either get off the current train and travel via a different route or get the bus.

Based on where I was headed the bus was my only option and as people started to leave the train I began talking to a stranger who looked just as inconvenienced as I felt.

So we got chatting, left the train and got the bus together as we were heading in the same location.

Even though we’d just met, there was a level of comfort/familiarity as though we weren’t strangers, as if we were already friends.

Our conversation was pretty open but we were by no means BFFs, we were instead 2 strangers caught in an inconvenient situation who perhaps both thought that it might be easier to have someone else to get through it with.

We reached the point of parting around 45 minutes after we met and just like that the friendship was over.