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Here are just 5 reasons why the new norm cannot be to abandon the offices and just WFH.

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Too many people kept saying that new normal means everyone and most companies will now abandon their office and will now push towards working from home. After all, companies could save on rentals… right? Employees meanwhile could continue to be very productive when working from home versus facing traffic jams daily…right? My personal opinion remains the same. The new normal is one where flexibility is now compulsory.

Companies and employees will now have to be prepared to work from home. Prepared meant if there’s a need. Prepared means employees would now know that if they need to work from home, they could sign up for that particular broadband package and the company will pay for it. Prepared means companies will strive to provide their people with a notebook which is good enough to work from home. Prepared means, being prepared. Period. Oh yeah, let’s go into the 5 reasons in my opinion why new norm does not mean everyone will work from home.

Hello… is it me you’re looking for? (If you smile and know this song you are my generation) You just needed a quick confirmation from a colleague. Instead of using zoom (or any other online meeting software), you reached for the phone. The person you call did not pick up the call. 2 hours later, he called back. He said he left his phone somewhere and it was on silent mode. (you believe or not?) By the way, you have already decided to proceed and no longer needed his opinion. What if now when you told him, he gave you a valid reason not to proceed??

We can’t hear you… You were in a zoom with the management team. Your line was not stable. Half the time you could not hear that important announcement by the CEO. Suddenly, the GM typed in the chat room to everyone that he could not hear anything. CEO asked again, can everyone hear me… Let me repeat… And you still could not hear and you were supposed to be the person in charge for this project. Everything repeats just once every 5 meetings. Haha…

We could not see you…. You wanted to know if your team is actually listening or were they doing something else. You asked all participants to switch on their videos. A few says their line is very slow, if the video is switched on, then they may be out of the meeting altogether. So, what do you want to do now? Keep talking and perhaps ask them questions? If they could not answer and said the line was not clear just now, what would you do?

Distractions, aplenty. Sound of chicken (from next door), sound of kids crying (maybe from outside your room door), sound of your partner shouting at the neighbour who did something awful and the argument starts. There’s also that important meeting and the food delivery man arrived and ‘Ding Dong’ Ding Dong’ and you have to rush down to open the door, take the food, drop it somewhere and rush back to the meeting and missed what your GM shared for the last 60 seconds. (That’s 150 words or more…) Perhaps there are even more of others but you get the idea.

Could NOT reach the customer. Guys ah, if you work from home and the customer is also working from home, the above situations will continue to happen. Your effectiveness and efficiency goes down and well, many times the customer also feel that they were not being served as they shouldl. When this is happening to many more people and their customers and their vendors it is not good for the economy as a whole yeah.

This is why when lockdowns were lifted, traffic starts going up again. This is why business meetings would still be much more preferable at a nice cafe or a nice restaurant. No shake hands, definitely but that 1 hour conversation will be much more effective and productive and not to mention, much more emotionally attached too.

Let’s not look at others. Let’s look at ourselves. We wanted to buy a property. It’s half a million ringgit. One real estate agent sent us a 3D 360 virtual tour video and says that the video will give us a good idea. Another said that social distancing may be in place but he could meet us at the site and he could explain to us via mobile phone as we drive behind his car. After driving around the township, he showed us the actual show unit which was on the site itself. All of us wore face masks.

Right after that viewing, we adjourn to the nearby mamak restaurant to have teh tarik with social distancing of course. Which one would we most likely be buying from? The world has not changed. Norms have not changed. It’s just a situational change and normalisation will start when things are no longer as critical. Happy understanding.

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