By Mark Hearn, president and CEO, Network Control
At this point, unless you have been living in a cave on an uncharted island in the middle of the South Pacific you know 2020 as the craziest, most disruptive–and definitely the longest–year in modern history! So many problems, so many challenges for businesses as they try to navigate the ever-changing rules of the road for this pandemic and its economic fallout.
We’ve changed our offices to spare bedrooms, the kitchen table, a basement or if you’re really lucky, a patio or deck. Our daily work uniforms have changed, if perhaps only outside of the camera’s line of sight…and commutes have become from the kitchen to the workspace.
But it is the holiday season after all, and we do have much to be thankful for, and following the adage that every problem can become an opportunity, here goes: we’ve seen a flip of the ratio of work-from-office to work-from-home from 90/10 to 10/90, and remarkably, we’re getting work done at a very efficient rate. Data is beginning to show that work from home (WFH) is more productive, and we work more hours to boot. At Network Control we made the same shift to keep our team safe, and we didn’t miss a beat for our many clients.
Of course, there are some challenges, like making sure that the broadband at home is good enough for the entire family hitting the network at the same time. Online school, streaming, work Zooms, file transfers, and everything else that pings the internet in today’s connected world calls for upgraded bandwidth and Wi-Fi speed. Shifting from office-ready capacity to similar demands at home can be a challenge, but employers, providers and the newly WFH’ers have been able to step up and make things work. We have been helping our clients make that transition as seamless as possible without unnecessary expense at a time when funds are precious.
And then there’s the sometimes-awkward look into colleagues’ and clients’ personal lives, whether it’s the cat wandering across the chair back and over their owner’s head (or keyboard), the three kids who decide it would be great to tackle mom or dad while they’re on a Zoom, or demand a snack during a call, or experiment with dressing up the family dog. We get to see their decorating tastes, furnishings, book choices, and occasionally things we really can’t unsee…but it has all had the unexpected impact of humanizing us, and letting us see one another, less as vendors or clients and more as colleagues, all on the same team. At Network Control we have always held that to be our model, to collaborate with our clients, to know how they work and what they need at a deep level. Working in this crazy pandemic world has let us reinforce that personalized approach we take.
So, as we look back on what seems to have been a 22-month-long 2020, we can find many positives in a sea of disruption and stress. As we look forward to 2021, we know there is an uphill road ahead, but based on the Network Control culture of doing the best possible work for our clients, showing them maximum value regardless of the circumstances, I feel completely confident that we will get through this stronger than ever.
Happy holidays everyone. Onward to 2021!