Looking for the Silver Lining
By Andy Wilson
It is hard to believe it was only 30 days ago that my team and I were sitting in a tech-enabled board room at the gleaming new headquarters of one of our corporate partners for the Alliance’s quarterly Board of Directors meeting. The idea of 25 people meeting at an office board room almost feels like a vestige of a bygone era. Now it is all about Zoom meetings, social distancing, and remote work. Mother Nature has brought to us not only a novel coronavirus, but a radical transformation in how we live our lives. I suspect some of these unanticipated behavioral changes will stick well after the storm has passed. I thought I might share my perspective on some of the more seismic shifts.
Given our massive SoCal footprint (40,000 square miles), we have deliberately built a distributed team at the Alliance and expect to continue to do so. We have staff in Orange County, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Santa Clarita, and Mount Washington. As we expand (though given current circumstances perhaps at a slower rate), I expect our next addition to be in San Diego. Point being, we already had to rely heavily on digital tools to bring the team together: Slack, Dropbox, Google suite, Zoom/Hang-outs. Though we do very much miss our bi-weekly in-person sessions, we really haven’t missed a beat. I know many firms have had to jump head first into this new way of working, and it hasn’t necessarily been easy. Now that many have made this leap, procured the tools and established new work practices, I bet many will find that working from home is pretty attractive — no dressing-up, no commute, no parking, no polluting, etc. I imagine more consolidation of traditional office spaces (smaller leases) with a migration to more shared convening/conference centers.