First, this is not another reference to Lynn-Manuel Miranda’s amazing musical. It’s a reference to something he referenced which I knew about before he referenced it. The World Turned Upside Down was the song the British sang as they marched out after their loss in the Revolutionary War. I used it in 2001 in recognition to the way the world was different after September 11th. The thought fits now as much as it did then.
Now, I’m not looking to talk about the state of the world, the craziness of the pandemic, or what is passing for political discussion in my country at the moment. I want to talk about the little individual worlds we all live and work in, and more specifically, how they’re all going to change once we’re allowed out of the house.
I have spent many years working as a government contractor, er I mean consultant, er that is…what ever you want to call it, it is all the same thing. People who work for a company that does work for the government. For the most part dress code is dark suit, maybe a flashy tie or socks if you’re a real rebel. We are conservative, respectable, and frankly boring.
Now that the world has turned upside down, how many people who have gone from wearing a suit five days a week to wearing business casual (heavy on the casual), and in a lot of cases no pants (I’m a pants person, but this is a judgement free zone). How many of us really want to go back to wearing a suit every day. Or going into work everyday for that matter.
Working from home is nice. How many of us are prepared to go back to our open-work-space with maybe a window that overlooks the alley? Personally, I like a more hybrid approach where there are periodic days in the office, if for no other reason than for people to meet face-to-face and remember that there really are people on the other side of the screen.
Are you ready to go back to the office? No, it’s not going to happen today, or tomorrow. Depending on who you talk to it could be a while. But will you be ready to just go back to that world that you came from? Can you look me in the keyboard and tell me that after the newness of being back rubs off that you’re really going to want to be in an office wearing a suit and high heels?
The business as usual world has been turned upside down. We’re home. We’ve got both human and animal support in the background when the video calls that could have been an email (because face it, that’s never going to change) are over. We’re not traveling around the country to meet people because we are finding new ways to interact. We’ve found new ways to get the job done. Ways that may be more efficient, less stressful and more fulfilling.
So, let’s start the discussion now about what work is going to look like when we go back. What do you want it to look like, to feel like. I mean, I think pants will still be mandatory, but do you want to go back to your ties or heels (or both, again no judgement here)? Business owners and HR folks, are you going to be willing to bend to the new, and potentially better, normal that your employees found?
I think we’re on the brink of new work place “normal,” but what do you think? Please share your thoughts below!