Fast Company: “The past year has left the imprint of exhaustion from constant travel and time away from his family. Peter realized the small moments he had been missing, like playing board games with his kids at night. Social distancing gave space to laughter, rest, exercise, and eating family dinner. For all the airline and hotel status lost, irreplaceable family bonding and memories were gained… After a year of waiting, the vaccine has arrived with increasing dread for what comes next. How much have we truly learned from this experience? Companies that struggled with how to lead virtually or keep company culture intact weren’t struggling with the virtual part. They struggled with gaps in how the company develops culture and leaders. Gaps that only became obvious under the constraints of the past year when they had no agility to adapt.The new ways of working often shattered long-held beliefs that virtual work wasn’t possible. Culture doesn’t exist within walls; it exists in interactions. If anything, culture became more pronounced as people worked differently this past year. Employees felt the true experience of what was encouraged, reinforced, or discouraged through virtual exchanges.
Companies and leaders that say things like “Get back into the office,” or “Return to the way things used to be,” are missing the opportunity to realize what has been learned. There is agreement on one thing: There is no going back to where things left off in February 2020. Not just in terms of where work is done, but how it is done. Leaders should take the opportunity to harvest insights from employees on lessons learned and use them to reimagine and evolve work…”