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Coronavirus? Who knows what will happen

March 05, 2020

Coronavirus? Who knows what will happen

Everyone is talking about Coronavirus these days, especially tech companies. Some seem downright gleeful, which I find disturbing. The risk-on trade on Wall Street these days has Zoom as the ultimate hedge against this pandemic. I feel badly for Zoom - I think they've done a great job addressing this crisis: Zoom’s Commitment to User Support & Business Continuity During the Coronavirus Outbreak

But I guess the market's response is natural and expected. It reminds me of a Wall Street Journal cartoon from the 1980s showing a financial commentator addressing some disturbing news. From recollection the caption read something like this:

"News that a giant meteor would destroy all life on Earth next month sent markets sharply lower this morning, before rebounding on rumors the Fed would cut the discount rate." I cut that cartoon out and saved it somewhere in my college memorabilia. The human condition in one frame.

I remember it to keep me humble. I'm not a scientist, I have no idea what will happen with Coronavirus. As a species we always seem to fight for and live another day. Personally, I'm hopeful based on the analyses I've read.

Assuming this will pass eventually, I thought it would be a good time to talk about what will be important going forward after this tragedy: How the technologies we are building today will power the future of work and make the world a better and safer place for tomorrow.

Right now, use whatever tools and resources you have available to keep yourself and your people safe! Here are a few great places to start:

The Future of Work is powered by Collaboration

I've been writing and speaking about the future of work for many years now. Back in 2014 I started writing a series of articles about collaboration and the future of work. I recently had some time to go back and reread these old posts. I thought it might be time to update some of these thoughts. It turns out there isn't much to update, what I wrote then remains cogent and even more relevant today:

Effective collaboration is built on a few key principles -

  • Context is the key to truly effective collaboration. With so much more information available today, connecting the important aspects together, whether that information exists in files, chat messages, task lists or any of hundreds of other apps, databases, etc. How it all connects together is the foundation. Context is king.
  • Employee engagement is the engine of effective collaboration. No longer is the most valuable work done by isolated individuals. Distributed or co-located, it doesn't matter. Engagement of the entire team is what drives innovation, efficiency, productivity and competitive advantage.
  • Transparency & Trust is the glue that holds engaged teams together. Collaboration is hard because it is based on human relations. That's been true for millennia and isn't going to change. Only with transparency can you develop the mutual trust and respect necessary to unlock the creative and productive potential of your teams.
  • Tool Integration is the secret sauce that makes all of this possible in the modern world. Silos of information without context disrupt communications, create the conditions for mistrust, fear, and isolation in your teams. Tools aren't magic - you've got to nail the human element - but they are the enabling technology necessary for success. Your tools need to provide your work teams with the right information, at the right time and place. Choose wisely!

"Never let a serious crisis go to waste!"

Oh, I hated that line when I first heard it. Another cynical politician (they're all cynical, I'm not playing favorites here!) taking advantage of some adversity for partisan gain. But if you search on this, you'll find lots of smart people have said similar things over the centuries. Maybe there is some wisdom to be gained after all.

I think there is. When bad things happen it often creates the conditions necessary to drive meaningful change in how we work together - in society, and our personal and professional lives. Coronavirus is a global human tragedy, so go out and help your neighbors, community, company, country and world in whatever way works for you. That's your first imperative.

Personally, I'll keep supporting my community the best way I can. Professionaly, we at Samepage will keep working to deliver the best all-in-one collaboration tool on the market, and support your organization's drive to achieve effective collaboration. Together we'll get past Coronavirus.

Scott R. Schreiman
CEO & Founder