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Is the "New Normal" going to be all it’s cracked up to be?

Are you getting a little sick of hearing how the "New Normal" is going to be so much better than what went before?

As everyone is talking about the New Normal and promoting the idea of remote working, I came across this article which says it’s not about “Where” we work but “How” we work, extolling the virtues of virtual workplace accessibility, asynchronous communication (a fancy way of saying you can communicate with people outside of real time – like sending an email or a voice message) and results based tracking. Makes sense, yeah? You could work from anywhere: the south of France or Arranmore Island.

“The “new normal” isn’t necessarily a business world

without working in an office, it’s just a world where

we focus on work instead of the office.”

But I just wonder are we missing a trick with this thinking?

What will we miss out on working like this?

And will it have an impact on our businesses?

Are we at risk of turning into and working with robots?

Is it good to work as your own self-contained, virtual unit, not necessarily communicating directly with others and being judged on your output only?

Is this not a little soul-destroying?

What about workplace culture? (OK, I admit some cultures are bad and workers might prefer to work somewhere other than in the actual workplace)

What about camaraderie, and socialising and relationships?

What about water-cooler or coffee break chat?

Is this a good thing in a workplace, or is it just distracting you from your results?

What about personality?

Are you an extrovert or an introvert?

Do you get your energy from being around others?

Will this type of work affect your productivity negatively? (and therefore, that of your business?)

This article says that remote workers are reporting greater productivity and work satisfaction. Is this true for you if you’ve been working remotely? Anecdotally, I’ve heard of people working more hours and not truly being offline because of missing the wind-down time of the commute home or the physical act of simply leaving the office.

With employers realising that remote workers are a substantially cheaper resource than presentees (a saving of $11,000 per part-time employee), are employees in danger of being forced to work remotely or on a simply output based system?

And if so, at what cost?

Is there more to being a good employee than output?

What about relationship with clients/customers?

I know when I worked as a solicitor, I could have increased my productivity by simply concentrating on output. How many sales did I close this week? I could have contacted my clients and colleagues asynchronously, leaving factual messages for them. But I would have missed out on developing relationships with my clients and this could well have impacted negatively on repeat business.

I would also have missed out on forging relationships with colleagues. Sometimes a little chat about how busy we are, or a mutual complaint session about a regulation, or organisation can mean a lot.

Or relationships with others in the office? Does that matter?

Will working in this way impact businesses by diminishing employee loyalty, and therefore continuity for customers.

If I am working virtually, asynchronously and judged on my results in Company A, what’s the difference in working for Company B??

Just a few thoughts to ponder as we go forward into uncharted waters.

What’s your ideal “New Normal”? Is it How you work not Where you work that's important? How has your productivity been if working from home? I'd love to know your views and experience, so feel free to drop me an email or comment on social media>

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