Work From Home in boxers

The Four Cornerstones of the Latest “New Normal”

Just when we were getting used to WFH, vaccine-developer Moderna announces positive early trials, the Fed hints at more stimulus funding, and stay-at-home orders are increasingly being lifted. All of which combined to catapult Wall Street to its best day in six weeks. Yet there are four main reasons why what Covidians are currently experiencing is most likely to become: Normal.

Casual’s In

Turns out Zoomers really enjoy taking casual to the max – or the minimum, as the case frequently is, according to “Fishbowl,” a workplace social network for verified employees. When a Fishbowl survey asked over 10,000 employees from companies like IBM, JP Morgan, McKinsey, Deloitte, Bank of America, KPMG – as well as Facebook, Amazon, and Google, “Do you wear pants while on video conference calls?, nearly 10% responded they only wear underwear below the belt during video conference calls. Surprise! Men came in at 14.27% vs women at 4.72%. However, over three-quarters of the respondents admitted to wearing pj’s, sweats, shorts, or leggings, and nearly 13% to wearing jeans. And this is across the board, because only 3% of “professionals” surveyed are wearing “professional attire” in their video meetings. For the ladies, when asked “How has your makeup routine changed since work from home started?” Over half – 54% – have completely stopped wearing makeup, and over 22% of us wear it less often.

Productivity’s Up

Both anecdotally in our ABL-Tech Round Tables, and based on Salesforce Research, we’re hearing that 86% of remote workers are rating their productivity as excellent or good. And, in spite of not being a cubicle apart, 81% rate their communication with colleagues as excellent or good, too. In a ZDNet Special Feature entitled, “Working from Home: The Future of Business is Remote,” in addition to rating themselves more productive, employees also reported that they’re: conducting more video calls than usual (44%), as well as more phone calls (38%), attending virtual events (37%), starting earlier (32%) or working later than usual (35%), finding a new appreciation for some technologies/apps (34%), or using them for the first time (31%).

Agility Matters

As “Adaptive Business Leaders,” ABL Members have always recognized the importance of agility. As Adam Miller, the founder and CEO of Cornerstone, recently wrote in his blog, Business Unbound: A Vision and New Strategies for the New World of Work, “Digital transformation initiatives have a heightened urgency as businesses are now required to pivot on a dime. The need to reskill and upskill the workforce is now an immediate concern rather than a provision for the future. Change is not optional. How to change is now the critical question.” As we’ve seen with manufacturers that have suddenly retooled their production lines to pump out ventilators or masks, to say nothing of the millions of us who have had to figure out the best practices for working from home, having the ability to change course quickly is becoming a fundamental measure of lasting viability. And, as Adam is quick to point out: “Learning is the adaptability accelerator.”

We’re Homeward Bound

Last week, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey told his Tweeps (AKA employees) that they can continue to work from home, permanently. And, on Monday, he extended the new policy to his Squares as well. As someone who’s frequently seen Tweeps lined up in the cold, waiting for the luxury buses that will whisk them away from the Mid-Market Twitter Building, where nearby one-bedroom rentals go for $3250, I can well imagine that most of the 1,000 San Francisco-based Tweeps will take Jack up on his offer to WFH. What’s not to like? – the employees are happier, jealous San Franciscans who can’t stand the “Google buses” are happier, and the environment’s cleaner. Of course Twitter and Square are not alone: Forbes reports that over the last few weeks Google, Facebook, JPMorgan, Capital One, Amazon, Microsoft, Zillow, and others, have announced that they’re extending their work-from-home policies, with only the in-office operations and security workers still required to be in the office. And a survey completed by outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas found that about 28% of HR managers, at a diverse group of 301 companies across the country, said they’ll be moving at least some of their employees into permanent work-from-home arrangements.

Eventually, Jack will probably save some rent money, too. According to Squarefoot.com, mid-Market Class A office space is currently going for $84/square foot. And, 2018 was a record year for the San Francisco commercial real estate industry, when “more than 3 million square feet of new construction came to market, with an additional 4 million square feet of space under development.” Can’t help but wonder what all that property will be worth as more CEOs like Jack Dorsey send their employees home to work – in the latest New Normal.

by Mimi Grant, President, Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization – Round Tables and Events for CEOs of Technology and Healthcare Companies