Here’s the deal: We have a global pandemic that has left businesses shuttered, stadiums empty, weddings delayed and people forced to be home drinking Clorox and watching Joe Exotic. How’s it going? Terrible, thanks for asking.

OK, not really terrible, but it is sure different. When this pandemic eventually ends, and who knows when that will be, there are going to be some tremendous opportunities and changes occurring.

This is about how we are preparing for them at our firm.

We have 50 people working remotely. Anyone who tells you this is fantastic is lying. Many of our staffers have young kids and partners trying to do their job while teaching elementary school. Some co-workers are challenged to work in small spaces where privacy can be an issue. Remote work for those who live alone can make them feel more remote. A Zoom happy hour doesn’t replace a real one, and an air hug is not the same as actual touch.

While all of us are figuring out how to operate under these conditions, we are at some level compromising. Our firm was prepared technologically for this. Some things that we were merely tinkering with are going to become permanent changes for us.

It’s less than ideal, but there are some good things coming out of the current trouble. We used to say that it felt like we were in the meeting business. Much of our activity involved client meetings. Now virtual meetings have caused us to do things much differently. One important difference is that we can now connect more frequently with the clients to check in and address issues as they come up, whereas in face-to-face client meetings, we might have wasted time preparing for a topic that turned out to be less important than we thought as we discovered more pressing things. Working remotely has considerably reduced these wastes of time because we can determine what’s needed and follow up with a quick phone call or meeting.

I have found clients particularly appreciative when I call them just to see how things are going. With my calendar no longer booked so tightly, picking up the phone and simply chatting has been something I enjoy and that clients value. They thank me when I do.

The current crisis has led us to realize that we have far more flexibility than we thought. As I get older, I have wanted to spend more time away from the office but still feel connected to work. Now that everyone has had to learn how to do this, it is easier for me. So I suspect I’ll feel less guilty when I am gone and more secure that I will be gone but not forgotten. Some of my colleagues find working from home to be less distracting than working in the office. When people have the option, they may choose to do more of it. We always had flex hours, but I suspect that these will now be used more effectively and comfortably.

This means we can also re-evaluate our space needs. Our building is around 17,000 square feet. With our current setup, we could probably add another 15 people before we have to explore adding a second floor. The new work flexibility may allow us to try out concepts like hoteling instead. Of course, social distancing might require more space in some areas, but specific stations and offices will require less.

We have also been able to organize virtual webinars with guest speakers. Though we regularly hosted events before, we only had so much space in a conference room or auditorium to accommodate guests. That’s not a problem with Zoom webinars. One of our recent presentations received over 200 RSVPs and attracted influential people and prospects. Attendees couldn’t socialize afterward the way they could at a conference, but on the other hand, some of them liked the anonymity.

First « 1 2 3 » Next