On one hand, it seems rather post-apocalyptic, but whilst in one of the various Coronavirus-related management meetings we are now routinely holding, it also struck me that this might be a vision of the future. Granted it has been hastened along due to the rapidity with which Coronavirus has spread and the global reaction to it, but could this be the new reality for work, and to an extent, society?

Flexible working, remote access to our workplace systems and video/streamed calls have all been around for some time, but adoption is still not universal. The traditional “9-5” way of working has long been seen as antiquated by those at a more junior level at least, but in some quarters, modernising practices has proven difficult. Cost, concerns about productivity and technology have all been impediments. Whilst “Presenteeism” is becoming frowned upon, and being physically present in a building is no guarantee of productivity or success, it has proven difficult to shake old habits. However, a significant number of businesses are now being forced to adopt these practices.

Reducing time spent commuting, being able to catch up with family and do more for our physical and mental health are all clear benefits. Given that we spend a disproportionate amount of time glued to screens, whether they be computers, mobile devices or consoles, working remotely may actually result in more time being freed up to do other things (assuming of course that we aren’t in “lock down”).

Relationships are still vital in business, but increasingly, in today’s digital marketplace, trust is something which has to be earned remotely. The need to physically meet has reduced. Perhaps this could be the catalyst for change.

There are clearly challenges, not least because this has been forced on many businesses abruptly, without chance to fully prepare and assess best practice. In the current economic uncertainty, embarking on new projects or organisational change is clearly a risk, but it may bring longer-term benefits.

The environmental impact will be significant, with huge reductions in our respective carbon footprints, something which Greta Thunberg could only have dreamed of. We will also have to consider new and inventive ways of propelling ourselves into the marketplace, when lunches, drinks and seminars are not possible. Many of us already use podcasts, webinars and virtual meetings, and if it drives innovation in terms of content, this has to be a good thing. What makes your podcast more interesting than listening to “That Peter Crouch Podcast” for example?

Ironically, given the above, one thing that seems to get overlooked in all of the excitement at home working is the realisation that isolation is not good for us. We are ultimately a tribe, and being outside that community group (large or small) for significant periods of time is likely to have detrimental effects on our mental well-being. Think about Christmas – once the initial excitement is done, the feasting and drinking has reached its peak and the presents are gathering dust, we’re all ready to get back to work. That all happens in the space of 2-3 weeks. Imagine extrapolating that feeling over 1-2 months…

It is vital that whilst we all work remotely or self-isolate as necessary, that we continue to keep in touch, whether it be via emails, calls or shouting over the fence to neighbours.

Share
Twitter LinkedIn Email Save as PDF
Key contacts

Richard Field

Partner: Guernsey

T +44 (0)1481 755 610
E Email Richard

Richard Sheldon

Group Partner*: Guernsey, Jersey

T +44 (0)1481 755 904
E Email Richard

Anthony Williams

Partner: Guernsey

T +44 (0)1481 755 622
E Email Anthony

More Publications
19 Mar 2020 |

Changes to Guernsey’s Corporate Insolvency Law and the Winding Up of Foreign Companies

January 2020 saw the States of Guernsey pass of the Companies (Guernsey) Law, 2008 (Insolvency) (Ame...

Contributors: Andrew Murphy
13 Mar 2020 |

Appleby contributes five chapters to Global Legal Insights – Fund Finance 2020

Appleby provided five chapters to the Global Legal Insights - Fund Finance 2020 Guide. The publicati...

28 Feb 2020 |

Climate Change for Investors

Innovation is a multi-faceted concept; it might involve wholesale technical change, utilising cuttin...

Contributors: Paula Fry
17 Feb 2020 |

Reflections on The "Combatting and Investigating Financial Crime" Seminar

Appleby recently hosted a breakfast seminar on practical experiences of combatting and investigating...

4 Feb 2020 |

Question(ing) Time

2020 - a new year, combined with a new decade. For some, it brings a newfound (and likely short-live...

31 Jan 2020 |

Brexit Day has arrived: What does that mean for Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man?

Brexit Day has arrived, and at 11 o’clock this evening the UK’s EU membership will come to an en...

19 Dec 2019 |

Substance Matters

In 2017, the EU Code of Conduct Group (the Group) reviewed the tax policies of various non-EU countr...

Contributors: Jennifer Rosser
11 Dec 2019 |

Channel Islands: Year in Review

2019 has been an interesting year for the Channel Islands, to say the least. Global macro-economic ...

Contributors: Jeremy Berchem
9 Dec 2019 |

Chasing Rainbows

By definition, unicorns are rare and elusive. Whilst the term was first coined in 2013 to describe a...

Contributors: Jeremy Berchem
2 Dec 2019 |

Population Management - The Real Story

It is sometimes easy to criticise the States of Guernsey for various policies they have put in place...