As we all adjust to living in the new reality introduced by Coronavirus/COVID-19, its easy to become consumed by the bad news and the negative aspects of the situation. Without a doubt, this is a serious time and this virus is having wide-ranging negative effects on people and economies the world over. However, as each of us does our part to flatten the curve and combat the spread of the virus, it’s important to notice and celebrate some of the silver linings.
More Work From Home Options
The ability to work from home has been at the top of the list of desired benefits for a while. In 2018 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 23.7% of the U.S. Population worked at home for at least some hours. Additionally, Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 56% of the U.S. Workforce holds a job that is at least partially compatible with remote work. Flexibility is the benefit that most workers see in WFH benefits, with Flexjobs finding that 61% of workers having left or considered leaving a job because it did not have work flexibility.
What about productivity? Many employers have been reluctant to offer work from home options because they fear that without the accountability of the office environment workers would slack off and productivity would decline. However, the statistics just don’t bear this out. Study after study after study finds increased levels of productivity for remote workers compared to their in-office counterparts.
Even as remote work was slowly trending up in the U.S., the onset of enforced work from home programs at many companies means that bosses are going to start seeing that their teams can be just as, or more, productive when they have the option to work from home. Add to that other benefits of reduced office costs, higher retention rates, and lessened carbon footprints, and many employers will likely continue to incorporate more remote working options even after the threat of COVID-19 fades.
The silver lining is that today we get to spend extra time with our loved ones (including pets!) and tomorrow we’ll have more options around when and where we get our work done.
Here at inMotionNow we love creativity, and one really cool thing I’ve noticed since we began social distancing is seeing all the creative ways local businesses and even large corporations have adapted and provided solutions to keep going in these stressful times. Many local businesses are coming up with ways to offer services curbside, from bookstores walking orders out to cars, to vets picking up pets at the curb and returning them to the car after treatment. More restaurants are offering delivery, and some creative thinkers have pointed out that gift cards are a great way to provide cash to service providers, like hairdressers and salons that can’t operate right now, in lieu of regular appointments. I don’t know about you, but when this is all over I’m gonna need a massage!
Even the big corporations are getting in on it. Target and Walmart have announced that certain hours will be reserved for high-risk individuals to shop safely, and Netflix is helping us come together over movies to feel less isolated.
Time for Those Big Projects
In addition to work from home generally increasing productivity, many businesses are also finding that this is a great time to pick up or accelerate big projects or purchases. While many businesses initially approached the crisis by cutting back on spending on things like new software or new hires, as we all settle into our “new normal” we are realizing that it makes more sense to push ahead on projects, rather than slow down. For one, everyone is less distracted right now. We’re settling into our new routines and realizing that we have the bandwidth to take on new projects or roll out new processes to our teams.
Additionally, switching to all-remote shines a really harsh light on any processes or softwares that are not working for us. Teams that are physically co-located often don’t realize how much we get done via face-to-face interactions. We can still collaborate closely when we are working remotely, we just have to have the right tools in place. For example, having a work management platform that serves as a single source of truth and facilitates seamless collaboration between and across teams, like inMotion ignite, is crucial for remote teams. When a stressor like a new work from home program highlights the gaps in our current system, its easier to get your team and your stakeholders to adopt a new, better system.
Workers aren’t the only ones going home during this crisis – so are students. This means schools at every level, from elementary all the way through university, are having to double down on online educational programs. Certainly, online education has been a growing trend for almost as long as the internet has been around, but just like WFH programs, never at this level or concentration. While having kids out of school is inconvenient for now, in the long run, this shows schools and colleges just how scalable and efficient online programs can be. After Coronavirus we will likely see an uptick in online educational offerings, which means more people than ever before will have access to education.
It’s also delightful to see how other places that had previously restricted access are opening up their doors. Museums and art galleries are offering virtual tours to see their collections, public libraries are educating patrons about their digital offerings, and many movies have come to streaming services sooner than expected.
Triumph of the Human Spirit
I know, it’s cheesy, but in just the past few weeks there have been so many examples of people stepping up to help or cheer each other one-on-one. Whether it’s offering to shop for high-risk neighbors, taking in foster pets as shelters are forced to closed, Italians singing from their balconies, or penguins getting to visit the aquarium, the last few weeks have been a non-stop display of how humans can rise above a difficult situation to help each other and find the silver linings.
What opportunities for a silver lining does your team have during this time? Schedule a demo of inMotion ignite to see how you can increase collaboration and productivity, no matter where you’re working from.
Elise Hauser is a product and content marketer with a passion for telling brand stories. She has produced inMotionNow’s annual In-House Creative Management Report, webinars, content sessions for major industry events reaching audiences of 1,000+, and of course, countless blog posts. When Elise isn’t writing about the marketing and creative industry at inMotionNow she is teaching economics and hanging out with her cat, Tucker, at her home in Raleigh, NC.