The return to “normal”

While we’ve successfully managed challenges like emergency plant openings to meet rising demand, no matter how much we do to make remote work easier, it can still take a toll. Many of us are working longer hours. Meetings might start earlier and end later and can easily consume the day. I doubt that remote work — in our environment — will continue in its current form post pandemic.

So while the pendulum has swung all the way from working in-person to working remotely, I suspect it will return to somewhere in the middle. Travel and in-office work will resume gradually but likely only on an as-needed basis. I went from traveling 50% of the time to zero, and may resume to 25% longer-term based on customer needs. We and our customers now have a better understanding of what can be managed well virtually and when an in-person meeting or onsite FAT is required. Overall, though, travel and face-to-face interactions are still essential for truly effective customer communications and relationship-building.

Longer term, as we decide where to stand on the “in-person vs. remote” continuum, I’m confident we’ll make the right decision on a case-by-case basis based on what we’ve learned. And all the while, we’ll need to stay creative and flexible as work or global health conditions change — especially in our industry.

Kevin Seaver is an Executive General Manager at Cytiva. See full bio.