There Is No ‘New Norm’

By Mark Scott • 17 April 2020

The below insight has been written by Mark Scott, CEO at Cantium Business Solutions:

Several times over the last few days, I’ve heard the term ‘the new norm’; rightly, people realise things are changing and what was normal just a few short weeks ago may no longer be the case.

It’s incredible how quickly we adapt; indeed, things we hadn’t ever done until three weeks ago, now seem routine. How many of you had used Zoom to take part in a group chat with family and friends before the lockdown period started? Would you ever have envisaged inviting your work colleagues to a virtual meeting in your home? Or, would you ever have considered hosting a meeting with dogs, kids or spouses having walk-on parts in the background?

You don’t have to look back many years to a time when it would have been impossible to access your files from home. Think about this; Dropbox doesn’t celebrate its twelfth birthday until September this year! And going just a little further back, to pre-internet; what would we all be doing right now if Sir Tim Barners-Lee hadn’t invented the World Wide Web in 1990?

Countless things are happening in our daily lives that were unimaginable a few years ago, or they were confined to science fiction movies. Driverless cars, contactless payments, Bluetooth connectivity, streaming videos, wireless charging, smart speakers, to name but a few, all are ‘new’, but form part of our daily life; they are now the norm.

So, enough of the history lesson, my point is this; the only real norm is that things will change. Technology advances, and we embrace it. And as we are all painfully aware, a crisis can hit us and force change. Either way, we are very good at adapting to change, but I don’t call it the ‘new norm’, I prefer to call it the ‘next norm’.

I have always been open to change; in fact, I welcome disruptive technology. People like Steve Jobs, who transformed music distribution, or Jeff Bezos, who reshaped retailing are true visionaries; they disrupted the norm. We should all welcome change; we should look for ways to operate smarter and more efficiently. Most of the time, we will do this through choice; but, like now, we must look for the positives in the current situation and adapt them as the ‘next norm’.

Use the lockdown experience to explore how you might change working conditions in the future. Is your team managing to operate from home? If so, surely the introduction of some form of flexible working in the future will provide them with a better work/life balance? And, if they are operating remotely, but efficiently, does this not present an opportunity to widen your geographic targeting? The past norm may have led you to believe you needed to be near your customers; the ‘next norm’ should encourage you to spread your wings.

So, in future, when you hear someone say, “the new norm”, let it be a reminder that you must always be prepared to evolve, adapt, and embrace change, that’s the only way to achieve real progress.

Mark Scott is a seasoned campaigner and long-time advocate of remote and home working. Looking for some tips on improving your home-working routine? Read his recent insight here.

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