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Not Only can we not go back we Shouldn't

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So again, I say not only that we cannot go back, we shouldn’t go back.  That is not to say working in offices or having face-face meetings should be totally abandoned.  No, there are situations where they are necessary, but in most cases, they should be the exceptions not the de facto standard.  

So where do we go from here?  We all deservingly patted ourselves on the back for moving our people from the office to home when the lock downs occurred.  In reality, that was the easy part.  It was limited to the scope of physically moving folks but not changing the enterprises culture.  We are now seeing the limitations of an incomplete transition.  The hard part now is how do we make changes in our Enterprises’ culture and infrastructure to truly support distributed working.

If you noticed, I have not used the term “work at home” or “remote working.”  Those are terms that describe the partial transformation.  They imply they are the exception or that they are temporary.  When I use the term “distributed work” I am referring to the complete transformation of an Enterprise.  The concept that work will be conducted from anywhere that supports the workflow.

Let me provide an example.  I was having lunch with an Audio Principal for an Enterprise that has theme parks.  Most of his work can be done in distributed manner, if the infrastructure is in place.  In his situation the work location, wherever that “is”, would need good internet connections, large dual screens to handle the transfer of information from spreadsheets to schematics, secure access to proprietary files, etc.  

There are some workflows that would need a local centralized lab where they can work on the physical servers as they mock them up and collaboration rooms where they can periodically meet in person.

In this scenario:

  • The demand for physical office space is significantly reduced
  • Commute reduce significantly reduced
  • Carbon footprint significantly reduced
  • Commuting stress, reduced
  • Speed to deployment increased
  • Employee satisfaction increased

I think you get the picture.  So as industry thought leaders our mantra should be “We don’t want to go back.”  To accomplish this, we need to work with top leadership to:

  • Agree on a distributed workforce enterprise strategy
  • Develop an enterprise communication plan
  • Identify individuals to be the Executive Sponsors for the project

Once the distributed workforce plan is accepted, we should work to build the Enterprise Infrastructure (IT and Facilities) to support it:

  • Solidify, secure, and templatize distributed work configurations
  • Redesign offices to support:
    • Hoteling
    • Drop in Collaboration rooms
    • Standardize our collaboration tools, implemented, and follow up with an adoption plan

2020 and Covid were painful but in a strange way a gift that forced us to move from an unsustainable office and in-person oriented “normal” to a more efficient and sustainable distributed work model.  It is now up to us to find effective ways to move to that model.   Build upon the temporary emergency configuration that exists today to a implement a well-designed and supportable permanent distributed “normal.”

You with me? Then let’s do it together.

Bob Kent ITIL, VSP

Director, Solution Architects

Converge One

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