Our tangible interaction with each other instantaneously moved to video conferencing and any form of electronic communication that we could get our hands-on. Our work shifted abruptly and clumsily at times to create a series of new norms. Co-workers and clients were welcomed into our homes via Zoom, a word many of us did not know before COVID-19. We interacted with our friends, families and neighbors with hesitation, considering the consequences of our actions at every turn. We each had our role to play but our road to get from point A to point B was now masked and virtual.
Over a year passed and the world changed. The mentality of work evolved. Desks and conference rooms were replaced with sofas and dining tables. The buttoned-up uniform of corporate life was swapped out for t-shirts and yoga pants. The pandemic forced us all into an 18 month-work-from home program that empowered us to choose the way we work, where we work and how we work. Once proclaimed dead, offices are being resurrected, revamped and retooled to meet the needs of a more flexible workforce. We each had our role to play and now had the choice of how to get from point A to point B, or in this case from the coffee table to the home office.
As we step back into society it can be exhausting, even for an extroverted New Yorker like myself. There is a collective sigh as we all put on our “work” clothes for the first time, hoping that they still fit. We are about to walk into an office that was once familiar but now feels foreign. The comfort of home coupled with the functionality of an office is the new standard for the corporate landscape. Refreshing our “work home” with what we have learned by working from home over the past 18 months is key to the next chapter of our story. Home can be anywhere that you put your laptop, take a phone call or write an email. Our roles may be the same, but the way that we get from point A to point B has dramatically changed.