Post-Pandemic Work Is Different, And You Must Adjust
Randy Wolken, President & CEO
As we have begun to emerge from the crisis, I have noticed a distinct change in the way we work. In my role, I have the opportunity to learn about and see a vast array of workplaces. From the outside, they may look familiar. But on the inside, the way organizations are getting work done has changed – and is continuing to change – dramatically. Are you noticing what is transpiring? Let me briefly outline three things that I believe have changed that will impact your work.
First, our work has been accelerated. The speed at which we work and the sheer number of things we can do in a day has never been quicker – and it is not going to slow down again unless we take control of it. The tools to operate virtually and in physical space with others have been with us for about a decade. However, until now, they were not widely available and adopted by an ever-increasing number of people globally. The sheer amount of interaction we can place in our day is growing fast. Available to most individuals are virtual meetings and events, video chats, texts and emails, social media posts, and traditional meetings and communications such as mail and phone calls. In a day, the sheer number of these interactions is multiple times what we could do only a few years ago. We can choose the speed and amount of these activities each day.
Second, focused work has decreased—the more we do, the less time we can spend on the work that matters. Concentrated time with others and on work we do alone has been squeezed out of much of our days. This can hurt an organization’s ability to do high-quality work and achieve new, innovative, and challenging outcomes. This is a struggle for each organization and individual. We must allow ourselves and those we work with the opportunity to focus. Many breakthroughs are only accomplished with focused time and effort. If we are always busy, even with important things, we may miss the more significant opportunity. We need to learn how to sacrifice the good to devote time to what is genuinely great.
Third, work is less enjoyable. Although this may not seem like a big deal, it is the most significant outcome of our accelerated digital world. When we move so fast and try to do so much, we lose the experience of enjoying the moment. The sheer joy of spending time with another person where we smile or laugh. The moment of excitement when we achieve a significant breakthrough. The critical celebration of what has been accomplished. All of these critical moments can be rushed through, so we can do even more. This decreases our joy and depletes the energy we will need to do what is next and critical. Burnout can ensue. Our effectiveness can wane. It is important that we do the things we enjoy that will have long-term impacts. The more we do them, the better we get. This gives the world excellence and helps individuals and organizations leave legacies.
Be aware of the impact of technology and the pandemic on how you, your team, and your organization work. Work has accelerated, focused work has decreased, and work has become less enjoyable. Take action to slow your work down, set aside focused work time, and spend moments enjoying what you do. You will have to consciously make work different to achieve these valuable outcomes. Please do it. It will pay dividends to your well-being and success. If you don’t, you may not be allowing yourself to be the amazing person you are called to be.