Did Our Work Change Overnight?

Did Our Work Change Overnight?

By Joe DiDonato

The big question for us as trainers and coaches, is what will another month of lockdown do to our companies?  Just like the shift caused by this crisis in The Overton Window will change politics in the years ahead, the question for us is how will training change in future months and years.

An analyst over at Forrester Research shared the chart below with me.  When I saw it, I thought you should know about it.  They’ve been asking 3 questions every two weeks to a very broad audience of employees.  You can see the questions being asked in their chart.  The light blue bar is where people are ‘mentally’ only two weeks after the initial poll.  Nearly half of the respondents are afraid to go to work because of the risk of exposure.

Courtesy: Forrester Research, Inc.

“How Employees Feel About Coronovirus Now: A PandemicEX Survey Update”, by James McQuivey, Forrester Research, Inc., March 25, 2020.

To give you some personal perspective, let me give you some examples after a short summary of the effects of Significant Emotional Events.

Events as traumatic as the current one unveiling with Covid-19 are considered Significant Emotional Events (SEE).  As defined by Dr. Morris Massey, whose work has concentrated in this area, a Significant Emotional Event is an experience that is so mentally arresting that it becomes a catalyst for you to consider, examine, and possibly change your initial values or value system.

Let me put it in another way for you.  Under what circumstances would you consider traveling on a cruise ship in the next year?  Or possibly, under what circumstances would you consider traveling by airplane?  Would you consider a vacation in New York City?  All of us will differ in our answers, but the test is what will be the majority response?

Perhaps you would be less likely to choose a cruise as an option unless prices dropped significantly.  Or maybe you would begin flying again, but only if the airlines announced that they’ve installed new micro-filtration systems to control the transfer of airborne-carried diseases.  Maybe flying will only be for business or family emergencies.  Those are the ‘unspoken’ choices that many of you might be weighing for some period of time after this crisis finally passes.

Those are the more obvious scenarios to consider.   Less obvious, at least initially, is what happens in the workplace.  Will companies who had strict policies about working inside an office, move to more moderate policies?  Will the statistics of working from home bare out what’s been said for a long time, that people are more productive?  Will this become a hiring criterion for new candidates?

The answer to these last questions is most likely a resounding ‘yes’ – at least in the short run.  So, what does that mean for the world of training?

Here’s what we’ve seen at Baker Communications over the last several months.  Travel restrictions have been imposed company-wide at the majority of our clients.  Working from home has become the “new normal.”  The majority of our training and coaching has now moved to virtual delivery.

The latter happened at such a rapid pace, that our clients asked us to conduct a webinar on Virtual Delivery Skills – Best Practices.  We did that last Friday, and you can see the recording of that video here: https://www.bakercommunications.com

Although your guess is as good as mine on what happens after the crisis subsides, our best guess is that the work environment – including training delivery – will be permanently impacted.  You can see that with companies like Zoom and cloud-storage and computing giants like Amazon Web Services, expanding at accelerated speeds.

We believe that the mix will permanently shift to more virtual, instructor-led training, as well as self-paced online learning.  We believe that online collaborative technologies will come into greater demand as employee resources become more remote.  We see online collaboration aiding in the continuous learning process, as employee groups share more and more data online.

If you don’t want your company to be a step behind this wave of change, then we highly recommend that you consider shifting your blended training to more online delivery systems.   We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please send me an email at jdidonato@bcicorp.com.

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