During the lockdowns many companies had to make quick transitions, and allow employees to work from home, but is that flexibility the new normal?
During the lockdowns many companies had to make quick transitions, and that was no different in the art industry. Covid19 forced many companies to swiftly transition employees
to work from home and into an online sphere. We ourselves being a new firm had to reevaluate our operations and go to market strategy, while also helping our clients, and working with them on various strategies and systems they could implement to successfully navigate the "new normal". The technology and systems that followed suit began to set the tone for what that innovative way of working could look like in the future, and highlighted the importance of integrated digital capabilities.
Host speaker Chris Barwick, VP of Collaboration and Go-to-Market strategy at Cisco, introduced the conversation in a now all too familiar WebEx webinar, with eye-opening statistics. Recent studies show 77% of employees embrace and even demand flexible workspaces. While we now see light at the end of the tunnel and restrictions continue be lifted across the country, the ability to support your team from any location is found to be extremely beneficial for the average worker and organization. With advanced technology and enhanced systems and proficiency, challenges continue to arise as the culture of the workplace slowly adjusts. People had to quickly alter their idea of work life balance, parenting evolved or devolved depending on who you asked. Utilizing new software and networking devices also required a unique synergy amongst teams, management, IT, HR, and the facilities departments to ensure proper safety and efficiency to ensure business ran smoothly even if one or more team members became ill. The art industry was no different, galleries had to ramp up their online presence no longer being able to leverage their showrooms. Auction houses had to begin having more virtual sales, relying more than ever on platforms like Artsy, Live Auctioneer, Bidsquare. Inevitably, many have adapted and come to appreciate aspects of the new work environment. Even now 98% of meetings have at least one person participating virtually.
The majority of those who experienced both in-office and remote work have emphasized their desire to continue on the path of incorporating hybrid working styles in future business models. This can be troublesome for some business models that rely on having a brick and mortar location, while those who do not, definitely have a tough choice. "Can we implement a permanent hybrid work structure?" continues to be a one of the main questions clients
asks us and for the answer all business factors need to be thought through. Including the people working for them, since people are an organizations biggest asset. With that said, for a company to keep attracting top level staff, they must evolve in tandem with their employees and their needs. Ideally, talent will and should have the ability to contribute their skills from anywhere in the world. For that to happen there needs to be a lot of trust involved, which could be a difficult task for some executives to take on. Companies need to examine everything from their people to the processes in place to see if a hybrid work structure is sustainable for their organization, independently and without bias of antiquated ideals.
Innovation(s) that offer accessibility and on-the-go modes of collaboration are key to the future of hybrid working as we begin to open, and some companies go back to the office.
Written by, Jasmine McClinton Arts Administrator for Art Business Consulting, an arts professional with years of experience in music and fine arts & Pablo Escamilla Director of Operations for Art Business Consulting, who provides specialty guidance in Art Business operations management, he is known for delivering high-value advise for strategic growth.