A year has passed since COVID-19 turned our personal and professional lives upside down. There are almost infinite ways in which to reflect on this milestone: how different countries handled the spread of the virus, how families coped with remote learning, how many memorable moments we missed because we didn’t travel or attend graduations or weddings, and how many memories we created simply by staying at home. But one way to reflect on this past year is how companies and employees have changed their expectations for where and how people work.
Very suddenly in March 2020, COVID-19 forced most employees to work remotely—at least at companies whose operations allowed it. Companies had to figure out quickly how to enable employees to work from home—especially organizations who had not previously established a remote-working policy. Different employees likely had very disparate reactions to working from home, depending on whether they had previously been accustomed to it, had elders or children who required care or home schooling, and so on. Most companies likely assumed that this was temporary—only to realize by late spring that it wasn’t. As the initial, triage phase of remote working plateaued and operations within companies stabilized, many companies realized that they should use this situation as an opportunity to rethink the future of work for all their employees. Read More
If you’re like me, you have a mini-library of those user experience books that are most meaningful to you. No, not the ones hidden away on your eReader, reminding you of their presence only when you see their titles on the screen. Rather, I’m referring to those tangible books, sitting on your office bookshelf or on a side table at home. Perhaps some remind you of the time when you first entered the field of user experience, wanting to absorb everything about the topic. Or maybe everyone raves about a book as being seminal to the user experience discipline, but you keep the fact that you’ve never read it a secret. Regardless of why you have them, where they live, or how much you recall of their content, these books are important to who you are as a UX professional.
I’ve recently finished reading what is now the latest addition to my own professional mini-library: This Is Service Design Thinking, by Marc Stickdorn, Jakob Schneider, and numerous collaborators and co-authors. This book is likely to become the quintessential service design textbook for students, educators, and professionals alike. In this column, I’ll share highlights from the book, along with some of my own interpretations, and tell you why you should add this book to your own personal collection. Read More
As we begin to see more friends and family, put social events and gatherings on our calendar, and slowly become more comfortable going maskless, I am grateful for the degree to which we’re now able to return to normal. My kids are in summer camp, and we’re looking forward to a couple of getaways. We can reflect on a difficult past year that our family managed to get through happily and healthily. We found ways to adjust and continue leading our lives, whether it was buying patio heaters so we could have family over for an outdoor holiday visit, rolling up our sleeves to help our kids when school was fully virtual last spring, or using more collaborative, digital tools at work.
While it’s easy to become eager to go back to the way our lives used to be, many people are now taking the opportunity to reflect on the last 18 months of the pandemic and decide whether any of the changes we’ve made as a result of the pandemic should persist in the future. From evaluating friendships to avoiding over-scheduled lives to working from home more often, people are motivated to move forward to a new and improved normal. We’ve realized what we can live without and what we want to have more of. Read More