Let’s agree to stop with the burning question – what will our new normal look like in the office post-COVID 19?! Like, didn’t we already debunk the human aspiration of “being normal” as a joke? If I’m not mistake the takeover of be yourself – be bold – stand out – and even being weird is still the in thing, right? If you have ever visited Austin, TX then you are familiar with the city’s slogan – Keep Austin Weird. Not only is this fun and catchy, but it describes a #community that embraces change in all perspectives: the way we look, the way we feel, how we act and even who we are. Okay – enough with the ramble - how does life go on after quarantine?
Let’s reflect on how you have been living while in quarantine. My journey started with a “this will blow over” mindset and quickly escalated to “I’ll let the grocery list get a little bit longer before going out”. What caused the shift? Well, the media has done a fabulous job at keeping me informed as well as reinforcing my fear of the “outside” world. Just last weekend I chatted with a friend and wondered – where the hell did Spring go? It felt like my #bubble somehow teleported me into 90-degree Houston weather – this guy needs a pool and beach day ASAP!
So, it's felt like I have been in a bubble, but that’s far from the truth. Actually, I haven’t been alone. Yikes! Cue the Hate Mail! Thumbs down, anti-influencers, “what the hell are you thinking” uproar commence!
For many people, we have reached a point where there are family members, close friends or even neighbors we have met with routinely. Whether this has been sharing a meal, providing assistance of some sort, or just agreeing to watch Netflix and quarantine together we have created our own “trust pockets”.
I’m sorry a whaa? Trust pocket? Imagine the pocket typically made on a shirt. It’s #small. It’s #exclusive. There’s a distinct #structure. Easily #accessible and #dependable. Now think of the people you have seen during quarantine. What do you have in common? I have only seen a small group of family and friends that are reacting similarly. We share the same perspectives, precautions and plan.
Trust pocket – people that share the same perspectives, precautions and plan.
The real burning question then is - If I’m comfortable operating in a “trust pocket”, how can we use this to plug into the office? We can start by diving into the 3Ps!
1. Perspectives – what is your company #vision short-term and long-term? Do you feel they align with you and your family's vision? Are they making decisions based off medical and professional (unbiased) directions?
2. Precautions – are there accommodations to help you #feel #safe, welcomed, and seen. Are face masks provided and encouraged? Are workstations six feet apart? Are in person meetings limited to 6 ppl and optional? Is there an onsite nurse or resource/ station to help take your temperature?
3. Plan – is there a #strategy to rotate employees into the office? Address the use of public transportation/ commuting, elevator usage, common areas? Is safety a shared top priority?
As we move forward to create the future of working together we will find that BTTWWADI is never the answer. (But That’s The Way We’ve Always Did It). Instead, we have learned that work can continue on outside of the office. We are no longer stuck in the pre-internet times where the office was the only place to get work done. This disruption has forced many organizations and its people to upskill overnight. As a result, we are working in new ways to achieve similar tasks like never before.
Challenge: take an assessment of your current quarantine situation. What is the "why" behind the people you have seen and places you have gone? Begin to understand the perspectives you value, precautions you expect and your personal plan to live healthy and feel safe.
Share these ideas and thoughts with your colleagues and team to begin building the foundation of your new office life, your new office trust pocket.