We don’t talk much about COVID-19 here. Which, of course, doesn’t mean it’s not affecting pretty much everything most/all of us do. On our end, the one thing we hear consistently from our clients these days is this: With the whole remote work situation, productivity has shot way up. It looks like people do get a bunch more work done from home than if they were in an office — and that even though working from home, for many, isn’t a walk in the park (and for quite a few outright impossible). And while productivity is up, creativity is down… Probably not surprisingly, creative endeavors need a certain amount of messiness, serendipity, bouncing ideas off of each other, and maybe even some goofing around. All incredibly hard (not impossible — but hard) to do in a remote work environment.
Which brings me to a comment Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Bettzüge, Director and General Manager at the EWI — Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (my alma mater) made in a session we did together this morning:
The companies which will figure out how to tame the polarity between productivity and creativity, between working from home (for focus) and in the office (for collaboration), will be the ones who will see outsized gains and advances compared to their peers.
I believe this to be true — and a massive opportunity for those of us who are nimble and quick, who can experiment to get the formula right (and “right” will look different for every company) — and something we have to get started on now.
As we like to say in our keynotes: The future is a paradox.