Amidst all of the horror and the madness, the recurring theme of “The will change the world of work forever” keeps popping up on my various timelines.

There’s no doubt that a number of assumptions about who can and can’t work remotely have been crushed in the past few weeks. Although that will be little comfort to the millions who have been either furloughed or made redundact because essentially they can’t work from home. And there is new found respect for those who are in the people-facing front line of organisations in worlds as diverse as healthcare to postal delivery to food production and retail. They were always called key workers for a reason.

But when it comes to those of us “knowledge workers” who push virtual pieces of paper from one desk to another, what will come next?

There are few assumptions that can be made at the moment.

I think it’s fairly safe to say “we won’t just turn Lockdown off like a light with a switch”, and its more likely to be like a complex light array in a 70s nightclub, with bits turning on and off all the time.

I think it’s also fairly safe to say that for people who are currently able to work from home, there is little to expect that we will all be sitting together in offices any time soon.

But looking forward, what we want workplaces to be like, and where those workplaces will be, are discussions I think we now need to start to have whilst remote working is the reality for so many. That’s not to say that our views on it won’t be biased at the moment (they definitely will), but it makes for a really useful set of insight as to what works for people now, what they are missing, and what we might want to maintain going forward.

As a result, I’m trying to corral a group of people who are interested in this from a service design/user experience perspective. Mainly, because I think it’s now the right time to engage with the people with whom we work so that we can avoid an accountant-led drive in a few months time to shut office space down left, right and centre “because we obviously don’t need them any more”.

(Note to my accountant work colleagues – this is the generic use of the term accountant and I have a much, much higher opinion of your judgement. But, you know what some in your profession can be like, eh?).

That little group is starting to corral in this Google Drive where we are starting to share some ideas. A common engagement survey to ask staff what we should continue, what we should stop and what we should do differently when offices start to become available again.

There’s a bit of a Twitter thread on this here:

The working document is available to view here:

And you can request access to the Google Drive if you are interested in finding out more here:

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