The pandemic has sent a bunch of people home and caused industry to reassess the need for large centralized gatherings. Trade shows have gone virtual and many may never become face-to-face again, and if they do, they will be a lot smaller. The travel industry comprising of hotels, airlines, restaurants, and car services are going to have to re-map their strategies. The building industries will also see a change. Governments that took in entertainment taxes are going to have to rethink their budgets. Those disruptions are going to change the world, and probably for the better through fewer travel accidents, and less pollution, more time for home and family, and ultimately lower insurance rates and health care costs.
There’s also going to be a big upside for the companies in the tech industry and beyond. Travel expenses will drop, and the need for huge home offices, and giant buildings and all the costs associated with building and maintaining such palaces will be diminished.
Jeff Clarke, the charismatic Vice Chairman and COO of Dell sees even bigger benefits. Recently interviewed on CNN, he said before the pandemic Dell had about 25% of its workforce at home full time or part-time. Now, he believes, coming out of the pandemic they will easily be over 50% all the time.
This new normal is the normal of the future
Proximity to a site or location is not all that important anymore, said Clarke. That gives you greater access to a worldwide pool of talented people who aren’t interested in relocating and people will be able to live in more affordable places. Clarke sees four major advantages in moving the workforce home:
- We’ll have a larger remote workforce, expanding talent pools and reducing environmental impact.
- Global supply chains will undergo a rapid transformation—diverse, resilient, and digital.
- The 4th industrial revolution will arrive faster and gives us a path to economic recovery.
- Healthcare and education will transform to have the greatest impact on society if we get it right.
We think Clarke is right on the money (literally) about this and hope the rest of the industry pays attention to what he’s saying. Disruption, something Dell knows a thing or two about, always comes at a cost to someone. And as mentioned, maybe it’s going to be the travel industry and the oil companies but those industries are contributing to pollution, lost productivity, and time away from one’s family. Maybe they need to change in order to better protect the environment and give back to communities.
Clarke gets it and is in a position to make it happen for Dell.