Americans are spending a great deal of time adapting to the new landscape. Sometime soon we will return to our normal life – or will we? I have spent my past weeks in quarantine speaking to corporate leaders and executives about the transition and adoption of their workforce. What has been learned so far, where have they experienced the greatest pain, how ready were they for something of this magnitude, and what has surprised them most?
In times of great peril, comes renewed hope and some of life’s best ideas and creations. Epic events like this one have a way of creating a new order. They bring out the best in us Americans. We see innovation, creativity, and productivity prevail.
Firms have been happily and successfully adapting to programs like microsoft teams and hosting virtual happy hours. Most value their time home and the flexibility to break for a run or stream a 45 minute workout. Many who commute, have had hours returned to their day, are saving money on gas and commuting costs, get to see their kids more, and are enjoying more time outdoors.
Whether we realize it or not we are creating our new normal. I believe that companies will never return to yesterdays’ normal but will find a much more efficient new way to operate.
Walmart announced they will hire 300,000 new employees, Amazon 100,000, and Target 200,000. These companies have also increased their pay and benefits to their employees; recognizing the value of their people. We will see a dramatic shift in the way we work, dine, shop, entertain, and spend our time.
The doors of opportunity are now wide open. I believe that we will see a tremendous amount of new roles being created in companies. We will learn so much from this terrible time, but soon recover and thrive. And so much ingenuity will come out of this dark period.
For years, companies have taken exhaustive measures to provide a culture where their employees thrive. We asked our employees for their creativity, transparency, and honesty but contained them in our managed environments for 10+ hour days. I have been told by many corporate leaders that their people are showing us resiliency, their commitment, and how they can be counted on to step up and take unique and creative measures to get their jobs done remotely.
The workplace that we knew four weeks ago has instantly become a thing of the past, now allowing our workers the freedom to work in their favorite spaces surrounded by their most treasured things. This sure isn’t something that we asked for or welcomed – but it’s here and happening. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “We did not seek it. We did not want it. But now, we are going to win it!” I believe that companies and people will exceed our expectations in the near future. We will recover from this beautifully, and be more agile, strategic, and well ahead of our competitive nations.
I read the other day that we never remember how bad something actually was after it has happened; like everything, the stress and pain eventually dim and fade. Many of my dearest colleagues are struggling with this extreme adjustment – it’s fast and furious. But, this could be America’s greatest comeback yet!