Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want. – Kristin Armstrong, Three-time Olympic gold medalist
Many of us have been focused on keeping our companies afloat—conserving cash, protecting employees, retaining customers, adapting to “martial law,” and navigating new layers of government regulation. this is all critical stuff. Just as critical is thinking about what happens when we come out of this. No one knows what the “new normal” will look like. There are many things to think about and pivoting your company is not easy.
What is Your New Normal Going to Look Like?
- Will you need to start having some or all of your employees work from home?
- How will your clients expect to work with you now?
- Will you need less office space now that your employees have had a taste of remote work life?
- Will your current IT support your new normal going forward?
- What new threats to your firm’s productivity and security lay on the horizon?
I’m sure you have your thoughts.
All I know is that I want to drive what my new normal is going to be. I don’t plan on waiting until someone else decides it for me and then react to it. If you think as I do, we should begin shaping our future and start making plans to get there. You can start by writing down what you think the new normal will look like and thinking through how you need to react to it.
Here is some of my thinking about the new normal and its impact on us and our clients:
- The companies that did not like having employees work from home will now allow this to some degree. The companies that already embraced working from home will do more of it and use it as a strategic advantage. Others will have no choice if they want to recruit and retain great talent.
- Many companies will need less office space. A Gartner, Inc. survey of 317 CFOs and Finance leaders on March 30, 2020 revealed that 74% will move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions post-COVID-19. Getting people together is still very important, but maybe not needed on a daily basis. Smaller space and a different layout will be needed.
- Hiring will be harder in some ways, easier in others, and different in all ways. Some people just don’t do well working isolated at home while others are super successful. Have you ever hired someone solely via videoconference and in a different city or state? Challenge and adapt your hiring protocol now before you need to react to it in a panic to hire.
- Cybersecurity will be a different beast with a remote workforce. Securing a single office is VERY different from securing a host of users working remotely. Way too much to cover in a blog so drop me a note to set up a time to chat for a few hours on the topic over lunch or coffee.
- IT support and strategy will require more sophisticated IT capabilities. Do you know what skills we need and why? Do you have the right team or 3rd-party partner in place? Supporting remote people and managing the systems that enable them takes a different level of thinking, procedure, and effort.
- In a new normal, all of your company procedures should be reviewed and possibly overhauled. You may not be able to walk to someone’s office to get approval. So, do you now rely on an insecure email? Take procedures seriously. They can make or break your company.
- Company culture will change in both subtle and overt ways. Protect what is core. Jettison the superfluous. Take the opportunity to embrace that which makes it better, different, a little weird, and exciting.
Everything was perfectly healthy and normal here in Denial Land. ―
There is no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all approach that will make all of this disappear. The companies that are still hoping for a return to the old-shoe comfort they had weeks ago are in denial will sadly go out of business if they do not wake up. The firms that embrace the new reality and help drive what it will look like will grow and be more successful.
Which do you want to be?
Got a question, an opinion, or want some advice? Shoot me an email (jahlberg[at]waident.com), give me a call (630-547-7011) or read our latest posts.