In preparation for the possible pandemic of coronavirus, I just stocked up on groceries, toilet paper, vitamin C, alcohol, etc.. Other than that, my life wouldn’t change much even if I were quarantined. Even my business would be business as usual. If everyone is forced to work from home, I believe it would have a lasting impact on how we work. I don’t mean to brag, but the way I work now, I believe, will be the norm for most people in the near future.
There was a push to work remotely in the aughts, but we saw some pushback in the 10s. Some research showed that the quality of teamwork and collaboration is lower when working virtually, but, I believe, this is true only because most people do not know how to communicate and interact with others effectively online.
Most of us were trained to socialize in person. We did not grow up learning how to communicate digitally. My daughter’s generation, on the other hand, knows how to visually illustrate and share an idea on their smartphones.
It’s like the difference between gas and induction stoves; if you were trained with the former, switching to the latter is hard. It’s not so much that one is better than the other; they work differently. Whatever second nature and intuition you have developed for a gas stove would have to be reprogrammed. If the whole world suddenly switched to induction stoves, for some period of time, productivity would plummet.
Naturally, remote working has both pros and cons. Lack of commute is an obvious advantage. I have two more hours in a day than most people. I can use them to relax or do something productive.
The less obvious advantage is that there is less prejudice online. People do not care what race I am, how old I am, where I live, whether I have both legs, or am infected with the coronavirus, as long as I can deliver the goods and services. All that matters is how I present myself online, and for that, I have full control, unlike my physical appearance.
In contrast, the idea of physically presenting myself for business feels uncivilized for me at this point. As long as my personal life remains face-to-face, I’m happy with the general trend to move the business world online.
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