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Tim Keefe and Andreas Wieman on the Future of the Workplace: Work at Home is Here to Stay!

Tim Keefe and Andreas Wieman on the Future of the Workplace_ Work at Home is Here to Stay

Hi, this is Tim Keefe and I’m here to talk about customer experience as it's evolving in a post pandemic world. As an introduction, we really want to get into what's happened over the last 18 months, and how does that influence what we should be doing going forward? One of the things that was very clear is that this whole concept of work at home went from being an interesting study by a lot of companies. There were companies that I've been working with that have spent as long as a decade debating, planning, negotiating, how they could possibly do work at home. This resulted in small pilot groups of employees working at home with mixed results. And then in March and April of 2020. Guess what? everybody without fail, had to figure it out. Some companies actually had pretty good background on it and had been dominantly, a virtual one. The company we work for, for example, had a significant portion of our employee base already working at home. So we had the advantage of having processes, technology, operations, remote VPN capabilities in place to support us. But many of our clients, on the other hand, needed our help to get there. It was a very exciting 72 hours, in some cases, a couple of weeks, but we all went to work at home. That's not going away. Employees are now used to it. People have relocated. I think that there's going to be a lot of evolution in this in the next couple of years. But the reality is, I don't think it's going away. Andreas Wieman, VP of Value Engineering for T-Tech, weighs in on the topic. In any survey, one of the things at the top, if not the top, component that employees look at is being able to have the flexibility to be virtual. Maybe go into the office one or two days a week, but have that flexibility. It's interesting when you say that everybody pivoted really quickly, and it was eye- opening. A lot of clients have always kind of teetered on whether they want to work at home or not. But when they had to make that snap decision, the companies that didn't have the experience and background or tools or expertise, you know, they set up a VPN, and they just get the people at home and allow them to remote in. It's not that easy. There's a reason why zoom excelled and the collaborative tools that it introduced, even more recently, this is going to be ongoing. I think you're seeing a lot of companies who now have already made the call, they're gonna stay virtual. So there's going to be a lot of interesting developments and software and ideas that are going to come out over the next year or two.

I think about virtualization improvements, augmented reality and engagement, all kinds of really cool things that I'm looking forward to seeing and being a part of.

Tim Keefe: Take the fact that companies now internally have had to make a dramatic evolution in the way they operate amid work at home and virtualization. Now think about the ongoing evolution in the way that our customers want to integrate, engage with their various vendors. And when I say customers, it's not the limit of that conversation to consumers, because that's often what people think about. But it's all the other categories of personas in the world that are interacting with the vendor. That's members, businesses, technicians, and even constituents in the public sector, that are looking for more effective 24/7 ways to engage with their vendors. So this is the kind of stuff that I think is going to be disruptive opportunities for companies that want to be in there first. Now, that is like ding ding, ding, ding, that's the opportunity! You have two choices, you can either be the one who disrupts your industry, or you can be disrupted. Your choice.

Andreas: Think about it like this: the resiliency you see from the adaptiveness of the old way of doing things versus the way that it's always been done. There’s also the new kind of generation that's coming up who has to evolve and adapt really quickly in the new business world. The meshing of those two ideas. I don't think it's the pendulum that is swinging any which way, we can't go completely virtual, we're not ready for that. But obviously, we've got to adapt and can't do it the way that things have been. I think you're going to see a unique circumstance with a meeting of those minds and the collaboration of those minds. That is, it's going to be a necessity to figure this out in the interim and the longer term. So again, it's something I'm looking forward to just as an observer, seeing how that works out and then a participant obviously with TTech and the clients that we work with.

Tim: We're definitely living an interesting life. We've got a series of other topics that we're going to do deep dives on. Some of them are going to be what to measure in a new world of customer experience, evolution of technology and what I call presentation layer technology, like how do we engage with people? And how do they learn? How did they get information, etc. I'm sure there are a lot of CFOs looking around during the pandemic with empty buildings. Hmm, let me see. I don't have anybody in the office. Work is getting done. We had some of the best quarters that some of these companies have ever seen financially, right? Hmm, maybe I'm not in such a big rush to get back to the way things were before.

Note: This article is an excerpt from a recent podcast by Tim and Andreas. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. You can also send Tim suggestions on topics you want covered in future podcast episodes.

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