The new normal

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I’m starting this blog post and I know I’m not going to finish it. This is going to be a live post and I’m going to to add to it piece by piece, little by little. This is because I don’t think it’s possible to tell what is the new normal is going to be, can you?

Anyhow I think it’s necessary that we try and learn already the lessons that the pandemic thought us as we would do after every endeavour, and we should also be creative here and try to design our future in a more respectful and sustainable fashion.

The first think that honestly I have to admit I hated about the past version of our working life were the queues on the motorway. It is honestrly something I never undertood: why million of people should leave home at the same time to be in the office at the same time causing the roads to be completely blocked and waisting everyday hours in commuting?

The answer was simple: the companies were imposing it. But now some companies aren’t imposing it any longer. So you can choose your way of life and choose a company that matches your lifestyle and work for them.

So what has changed really? I think we need to look at some little changes that make a huge difference. First of all the possibility to join meeting virtually. Before the pandemic most of us didn’t even have the option to join a meeting virtually, now I believe we all do.

In the new normal all the meetings have the option to join remotely.

Enrico Fantaguzzi

The second huge change in this new phase of life is the importance of digital. Everything is digitally sourced every thing is connected, everyone is on a device.

If you are not on the internet you don’t exist

Marketing motto from early 2000

That is an old marketing motto, which is still relevant of course, but now it has more implications.

For companies the digitisation has become the only way they can survive. For people digitisation has become the primary mean of networking, working and sourcing food and supplies.

Just a few years ago, the major tech giants seemed to be locked in an arms race to see who could fit more free candy and modernist architecture into their booming corporate campuses. And this was a major draw for candidates, and who could blame them? Who wouldn’t want to go to work in an office with a gigantic futuristic greenhouse, or to choose from over 30 eateries for your lunch break?

But now that many job seekers are interviewing for remote positions, and many of the jobs that once operated out of shiny tech HQs are going fully remote, what will become of these meccas of corporate convenience?

Forbes

The positive difference that video conferencing makes: you see people.

Do you remember when you used to speak to people on the phone? Was it easier to understand them or more difficult? Was it easier to call a person on the phone or is it easier to chat to them via MS Teams or Skype?

I personally noticed a great improvement in my relationship with people from different branches of my company and with suppliers since the introduction of MS Teams video calls in my daily routines. It’s easy to understand why. Before web conferencing became a standard I was not able to see the person I was speaking to, now I can. Even people I have never met in person I can see them face to face and hear them clearly.

To be honest I hear and understand them even better than in person. If you image an in person situation, where people meet in a physical meeting room there is always some level of background noise, people cannot mute themselves in a physical space, they type, they turn pages, they chew and so on. Plus when you are virtually meeting you can put your earphones on and adjust the volume.

Physical meetingVirtual meeting
CostCost: cost of any transportation, lodging, time waste for travelling, moving to the locationNo cost: only connectivity (fix cost)
LocationLocation issues: rooms not big enough, lack of oxigen, germsNo Location issues. You need connectivity
HearingHearing: background noises, some people are on the phone you cannot hear them, they cannot hear you properlyNo hearing issues: you need connectivity
SeeingSeeing people: some people are present some others aren’t and you cannot see them, is some big meetings you cannot see people properlyYou can see everyone equally.
SocialisationYou can socialise at the expenses of the company, the time you use for socialising is paid by the company. It’s very difficult to socialise in virtual meetings, almost no time is spent for this purpose.
This table compares physical meetings with virtual meetings

The introduction of video calls with other branches of my company or suppliers has improved significantly since I use video calls.

Author

When I held meeting with the global team I had to use a complicate video conferencing system that required people to go to a meeting room and activate a single camera for the whole team. Luckily that era has finished.

Training remotely

I started using screen sharing for training back in 2008. At the time MS Teams was called MS Communicator. It had more or less the same functions that now has MS Teams. However at the time if I remember not every computer had a webcam. At the time I was working at the Walt Disney Company in London as a project manager and I needed to communicate with a remote team that was spread between London, Los Angeles, Italy, Spain and Hungary.

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