Change has only just started
The emergency work from the sudden lockdown was make do and mend with strategies based on a short window of opportunity, mostly using existing assets. The best long term practice is still to evolve reflecting the view that life is not going to snap back to how it was any time soon. Nor should it. There are some good things that have come out of lockdown. The key issue is which of these changes to preserve and which to abandon.
Change and the adoption of new technology can be rapid when there is no choice, but we need to work out how to maintain that advantage when things are more settled. How much time, money and effort did we waste seeking adoption of changes which were no-brainers ? We need to use these recent successes to encourage better adoption in future. The need for change has been obvious and readily understood in lockdown but in future it’s going to be important to communicate more convincingly when platforms are burning less fiercely.
We need to rethink workplace communications, having been deluged with emails telling us how to operate in lockdown or selling advice and products. As lockdown started, some were already experimenting with Microsoft Teams for video meetings and written content whilst, for many, the intranet remains the principal means of firmwide communication. The challenge is ensuring key points are seen (and can be found) in a sea of communications. More channels doesn’t necessarily mean more clarity.
For years we have talked about paperless/paperlite operations and many have moved in that direction to save costs. Now that you can’t put a paper form in your out-tray, the logic is all the more stark. Firms have found workarounds – using scanners or Royal Mail – but this is the time to rethink processes so that we can operate efficiently wherever our people are.