Corporate culture is guaranteed not to let any opportunity slip by and the Covid-19 pandemic is certainly no exception. In fact, I am tempted to say that the pandemic itself is not a blot, not even a dot, on corporate ingenuity.
While I agree that dealing with the impact of the pandemic on the economy, work place and life in general is a very serious affair, one cannot help but notice the feverish pitch with which different sections of companies – not just the company where (you think) you work – trip over the feet of one another in getting you ready!
We went over the communications circus practiced with great vigor during the lockdown but the effort aimed at getting-back-to-near-normal-work seems to be even better, or worse, depending on which side you are in. There are elaborate emails, illustrative diagrams and, of course, the inescapable zoom calls to describe in great detail every square inch of the repurposed office space, which is beginning to look like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces from different puzzles mixed up.
Then there are the excruciating instructions on how to enter and exit the building and various sections of the office through mind boggling one-way lanes wherein one wrong turn might mean having to exit the building and start over. And, in some strange combinations of one-way traffic lanes inside the office, you may find yourself incapable of accessing the toilet in a hurry.
It looks like, at any point in time, no one will be more than 6 feet away from one of the sanitizer stations, which may quickly be replacing flower pots and fire extinguishers stuck to the wall. Comprehensive scheduling systems are being put in place to reserve your toilet breaks; and meal breaks are strongly discouraged. The most optimal scheduling algorithms ensure that no two people working in the same department or a project are in the office on the same day, thus effectively rendering the office to be another remote location.
Paperless offices may at last be really coming into vogue. Post-it stickers and other forms of stationery will be removed from circulation. Incoming mail, if at all permitted by your office rules, will be quarantined to a point in time where the contents become redundant. Birthday parties, the life blood of office culture, might be a thing of the past. Meeting durations may blissfully be limited to fifteen minutes, the maximum recommended time between successive hand washes.
All said and done, the corporate world is not going to allow itself to be outmaneuvered by silly pandemics!