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Has the world just become more productive? The numbers say yes.

Steven Karachinsky

As of late, many of the people I talk to truly feel as though they are only living in the right now—meaning that the past is behind them, and the future, for the time being, is parked on-hold with no clear path forward.  And with good reason. The world as we know it has shifted quickly and abruptly to a new work environment that is new and scary for many people.

To add to the challenge, many have children now at home that interrupt meetings and phone calls, not to mention the simplest of daily productivity habits. Pair that with the borderline humorous situation of people using their ironing board as a makeshift desk—of course, the world seems tipped upside down.

However, in all the turmoil that the office world has gone through over the past few weeks, there are reports beginning to emerge that tell a very different story—that productivity is beginning to increase… a lot.

Not surprisingly, one study showed that those who work from home end up working an average of 1.4 more days per month, beating out their office counterparts. And just to be clear, that’s an average of an additional three weeks per year.

Even on a personal note, several of my good friends from varying industries have indicated that their productivity within their departments has risen exponentially due to the work-from-home shift. The first—a close friend who works for the federal government—said that his department has accomplished more in measurable KPIs over the past three weeks than they did in the previous 90 days.

The other—a partner at a very large accounting firm—said that their billable hours rose 30% over the previous month.

That drastic rise in productivity for both individuals has now prompted a massive investment in Unified Communications tools, VPNs, and so on, as their respective organizations have decided to make remote work environments a permanent part of their new business model.

All that in just three weeks?

Now, of course, there are those who prefer the office. And rightfully so given that the brick-and-mortar environment has been an integral part of our social fabric for well over a century and more.  Changing those habits along with the way people are managed and incentivized takes time, especially considering the technological revolution that is taking place.

But as we have all experienced over the past three weeks, Unified Communications (UC) has been a big part of that revolutionary step towards a new world—and there is even more on the horizon.

The advent of 5G will now bring with it the full realization of digital transformation and ubiquitous connectivity, meaning work can happen from virtually anywhere.

So, where does that leave the world? This new work-from-home life that everyone has been experiencing is here to stay. Yet, the office of old is not about to disappear either. More likely the way the office is viewed will change, aligning with the belief that there is a time and place for in-person meetings: meetings that are prioritized as highly important, as opposed to off-the-cuff time wasters who could have sent an email (yes I’ve seen the meme).

The days where people peer over one’s cubicle wall to discuss last night’s episode of their favorite reality show, or the proverbial water cooler chat, are about to die a well-deserved death—all to make way for a more communicative, more focused work ethic and style.

Even at just over three weeks, I think it’s safe to say that we have all lived this new life long enough to know that a day without a painful commute, an extended lunch or coffee break, or a day full of interruptions is a much better life-work balance than one could ever have hoped for.

And yes, there are still bumps in the road—connectivity, toddlers, and ironing board desks—but as the telecom providers rapidly update their networks, 5G gets introduced, kids head back to school, and your new Ikea desk and chair show up, the world is about to become a much brighter and productive place for all.

April 14, 2020

Steven Karachinsky