By Colin Butcher, Head of Data Services at 2CV Research

Being required to adapt with very little warning or planning has proved challenging for many of us; we’ve all needed to quickly adapt to working alone and use digital tools to remain connected. But it’s certainly a challenge we’ve risen to; we’ve discovered new skills and working behaviours and honed these so that that we work in a manner that’s favourable for us, our families, our colleagues, clients, and suppliers. Indeed juggling multiple lives and responsibilities is the new norm, and while on the whole it seems many of us are drawing many positives from this journey, ‘Zoom-fatigue’ is starting to be noticeable, long video calls can be tiring and deprive us of the energies to fully achieve all of our working goals and responsibilities.

With the impending return to work - something we’re all keen on, albeit at different paces, organisations’ risk-assessments are duly underway, understanding how best and safely they can unlock the front doors and ‘get back to normal’. But what is ‘normal’ to look like? Perhaps, first, it’s worth taking time to understand what benefits lockdown has delivered alongside areas of work which have been difficult to replicate. At 2CV, many of us now find our collaborative work – which we thrive on - more challenging to achieve as effectively via digital tools. Contrast this with the often over-demand for quiet space in the office when needing to get your head down to work on a solus output, and perhaps we start to better understand what office space of the future may look like. Let’s ask ourselves, do we all really need to be in the office 9-5 every day? When we consider this and what lockdown has informed us,  perhaps the office is better positioned as a meeting space, a creative hub perhaps, a place where we go primarily when we need to collaborate, when we need to be with our colleagues in person, feeding off each other’s energies, alongside a common practice of allowing staff to utilise their own space for times when individual focus and quiet is profitable. Aligning technology with a balance of home and office working to suit outcomes is exactly what effective agile working demands. We all want to get back to normal, but let’s aim to return to a normal that’s better than before.

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