How Will Communities Change?
In another project, I am working with a partner to investigate decentralisation, distributed teams and open innovation.
Whilst speaking with some truly inspirational thought leaders in the field, the topics of community, technology for communities and how the role of communities are changing keep coming up, so I thought I'd share some of the thoughts.
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For many of us, our lives have changed drastically in the passed months, and now we looking towards a future of face masks, quarantines, social distancing, intermittent lockdowns and the remote worker.
As the initial wave of the pandemic subsides and a new wave starts to take hold in some countries, companies are having to make the decision about how many staff should be told (asked) to return to the office. Some companies are mandating workers return to the office full time, some part time. Some, like many of the big tech companies, are saying workers can, and in some cases, must now work from home permanently.
People, Places, Travel
For many businesses, salaries, real-estate and travel costs account for the highest proportion of their ongoing expenses, and the pandemic has opened the eyes of many to the huge opportunities to save costs in all areas.
Cutting travel costs.
When times get tough, many companies pinch down on the travel costs; restricting air travel to economy, bulk-buying hotel rooms and reducing the hotel classes, and generally making the whole process slightly harder and more unpleasant.
Nowadays, most people don't want to travel, and the idea of hoping on a Zoom call is no longer a barrier. Just nine months ago, there were many people who'd resist online meetings, citing corporate firewall restrictions, an inability to load software on their computer or just that they'd rather get together for a coffee or a beer. That's all but gone, which means big savings to companies' travel expense.
Cutting people costs.
Many companies are contemplating, and in some cases, implementing pay cuts for remote working staff.
Now, as a principle, I think messing with someone's base salary is a very bad and short sighted thing to do. So to those companies I say, good luck, you will reap what you sow.
Facebook is one of the companies caught in the headlights here, and their position is that, actually, if they don't have to hire people that can commute to the office, their recruitment net can be thrown wider, attracting talent from lower cost areas.
That kind of makes sense, in a short-term way. But the risks of employee dissent, increased attrition and hiring costs may very well outweigh that benefit.
Think that through for a bit, though. I don't think it ends that easily, especially with the real-estate point, below.
Cutting real-estate costs.
Now, this is the big one. If companies can unshackle themselves from needing to have big shiny HQs, there are big savings to be made...
How big? Very big.
Here's just one example.
Pinterest decided that they will no longer need their fancy HQ in San Francisco anymore, and were happy to pay a fee to break from their lease agreement early.
Obviously, this fee was carefully considered, and a business case made that said, yes paying this fee would save money. This fee was a cool $89.5 MILLION and paying it would still save money.
So with that in mind, I think fiddling with your staff's take-home is an even more daft idea. Nothing annoys people more than down-sizing their salaries.
Ok, so what does this all have to do with communities? Everything.
Technology, Communities and Distributed Teams
Watch the video for some of my other thoughts on these topics. I'd love to hear your feedback and comments.
Tell me what you think
What do you think? Share your thoughts with me, and leave a comment below.