In the good, old, pre-pandemic days of 2019, I would travel to meet with my professional peers 3 or 4 times per year. The group spans a vast geography from Western New York state to Indianapolis, north to Toronto, and south to Pittsburgh. When a contagious virus ravaged the nation, we did what most everyone did. We retreated to Zoom. And, we convinced ourselves we didn’t lose much in the transition.
But we did.
If there was any doubt, our first in-person meeting in two years convinced us of the benefit of an oxytocin-charged gathering. Most of us are over the age of sixty and grew up in an era when working in an office was the norm. We are well acquainted with the benefits of sharing a foxhole with colleagues.
Now, we and the nation are emerging from the pandemic a little sadder and wiser. The garment industry is rejoicing as stylish, young professionals snap up collared shirts and dresses. But if you think we’ll get relief from the home office by returning to work, you’ve got another think coming. Sure, some will go to the office full time while others will split between office and home.
However, the more significant trend will be toward the metaverse. Even before the pandemic, technology enabled collaboration between desktops within the office or with remote colleagues. And while many businesses have only one location, those with multiple sites have been able to share documents and databases among co-workers around the globe. IBM, that dinosaur of another era, has mastered the art of global collaboration by matching professional’s skills with projects.
The metaverse will raise the ante. It will supercharge remote collaboration by providing tools one could only imagine a short while ago. It's difficult to describe the advantages of the metaverse over the last set of tools you may be familiar with. Best to watch this one-minute video:
The Great Resignation has enabled gig workers, from drivers to graphic artists to systems engineers, to find part-time or full-time work where they get paid for results without worrying about corporate culture or where they might fit. In the gig economy, long-term career goals will be enabled by increasing skills through education and training, both formally and on the job. A four-year degree will be less important than the ability to deliver those results. And corporate cultures will become more results-oriented as many full-time positions convert to gigs.
To get a flavor of what I am talking about, ask your Uber driver what kind of work they do when not driving. You’ll be amazed.