By Boyko Iaramov, Co-Founder & CEO of Campus X
While there are plenty of things that remain uncertain as we try to grasp the impact of COVID-19 on business, there are several things we can claim with a high degree of confidence:
Health & personal well-being is finally priority #1
For too long, me including, we have put personal health – physical and mental, in the shadow of business success. We have way too many examples of burnout, depression, stress, and lack of good work-life balance. We have pushed ourselves, our teams, and collaterally, our families, to the very cliff of sanity, only to extract the last % efficiency and competitive edge. In the process of which, we had put most of the wellbeing, welfare and health care of these groups as a secondary objective.
With COVID-19, somehow “magically” health and wellbeing took the front center stage. The health of our medical workers, the health of our couriers and delivery teams, the health of our food stores, and the health of our critical supply chains. As I write this, I continue to be bewildered that somehow this comes as a surprise, as something which we consciously put away for later consideration. We can’t. And those who did, are now paying the price.
If you asked for a definition of a “healthy organization” 6 months ago, chances are you will get a plethora of answers like:
Capturing market share
Growing customer base
Good performance on stock exchanges
Great return of value tostakeholders
And many, many more.
But I seriously doubt that you would have gotten many responses like:
A healthy organization is one that puts people first. Even if it contradicts company's financial outcome/performance.
But it is people that make companies and not the other way around. Despite unprecedented hurdles of delivering a product or a service, those companies that were able to continue to operate were those that adhered to the mandated lockdowns and were able to define a new remote and home office culture. A culture that does not contradict peoples’ aspirations to continue to contribute and feel valuable and one that also acknowledges individual differences of how staff can be productive.
The organizations that embrace this change and show their teams, that regardless of circumstances, they will continue to be appreciated for the expertise and commitment they put in, are the ones that we can boldly say, have put the unshakable foundations of a much healthier organization – resilient people, resilient business.
Acknowledging the new mode of work, these organizations can and most probably will, re-evaluate the size of their physical office footprint, de-clustering their teams, provisioning home office baseline amenities, setting up satellite and remote offices and investing in the technology infrastructure holding it all together. It is a conscious mix of a new operational model.
Not all work is equal
When we speak of the work mix, we have four major modes:
Remote Office / Satellite Office
Onsite at HQ
While the COVID-19 shockwave left many unprepared to transition to home office work, it is a fact is that the technology sector was swift and agile to embrace this method of product or service delivery, because of its mostly digital means of product development and delivery.
At the same time home office, brings in a lot of new challenges compared to an onsite flawlessly executed office experience. The major being:
Connectivity & Infrastructure
While dedicated IT teams, seamlessly do their magic behind the scenes so that the digital organism of a company remains ticking, this is absolutely not the way things would work at home with a standard Internet (ISP) connectivity contract. Depending on criticality (and this being the only way to have access to all external services - email, zoom, etc.), the cost of setup and operation of a reliable internet connection has to be factored in. Missing important client presentations, dropping video conferences, or having no access to email will be unacceptable.
Having permanent access to onsite infrastructure may also be critical. For some it may be bio labs, for others it may be 3D printing equipment and for the rest, it may simply be access to meeting rooms, event spaces, phone booths, etc.
As reliable as a SOHO (Small Office and Home Office) internet connection can be, home users may need to opt-in for a redundant connectivity medium, that would serve as a backup in critical moments. Over the course of a two-month lockdown, some downtime of the ISP is bound to happen and with an overwhelmed support staff, ISP will be slow to respond to home incident reports. Then, people resort to mobile hotspots via 4G/5G operators, incurring additional cost, to be further factored in by the employer.
Building for redundancy at home may also include power redundancy, via an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), loading additional cost of a seemingly simple home office setup.
Privacy & Compliance