My old therapist used to call the obstacles that get put into our life (including my massive heart attack in 2017) as "another f***ing learning experience." There's no question that the pandemic has been an awful disaster that's damaged families, lives, businesses, and economies. It's a challenge to take something this horrible and mine something useful from it, but here are five revelations that resulted from the pandemic and which will positively affect business performance:
1. The pandemic proved working from home is productive.
Before the pandemic, most companies insisted that their employees commute to a central office or workplace. The pandemic forced such companies to see what was obvious to every office worker--that most office jobs can be done more efficiently remotely.
2. The pandemic proved open-plan offices are really stupid.
Open-plan offices are the dumbest management fad of all time, because they decrease, rather than increase, collaboration, innovation, and productivity. Sadly, it took a pandemic's spread of airborne disease to drive the point home.
3. The pandemic proved long work hours are counterproductive.
Pre-pandemic corporate culture fetishized long work hours, even though studies show almost nobody in an office actually does more than a few hours of work every week. The pandemic gave the lie to the performative seat warming.
4. The pandemic proved our supply chains are too fragile.
Before the pandemic, many companies depended upon complex global supply chains to feed just-in-time inventories. The pandemic, by disrupting supply chains, showed companies that if they want to be resilient, they'll need some strategic stockpiling.
5. The pandemic proved bad management is dumb management.
The pandemic begat the Great Resignation and suddenly managers discovered they can't treat workers like crap. Smart managers have long known that your workers ARE your business; it took a pandemic to force the dumb managers to get with the program.