Column: Adjusting to the New Normal When Office Life Resumes

Badri Rajasekar

Badri Rajasekar is the co-founder and CEO of Jamm, a video collaboration tool for teams based in Santa Monica.

Column: Adjusting to the New Normal When Office Life Resumes
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

In May, Twitter announced that they will allow employees to permanently work from home once the COVID-19 pandemic settles. As one of the largest social media companies pivots some of its workforce to remote, it's time to re-evaluate what the future looks like, as we plan our adjustments for this "new normal."

While many companies were exploring remote work prior to the pandemic, COVID-19 accelerated this transition. People around the world have swapped cubicles for kitchen tables, found new co-workers with their pets, opted for video conferencing over in-person meetings, and shortened their commutes from the bed to a makeshift desk. Despite the shaky beginning, many employees have changed how they view the work experience, and employers have recognized the need for continued flexibility.

To take a deeper look into how people feel about working from home, my team at Jamm conducted a survey that revealed 81% of respondents want to have the choice to work remotely going forward, even when stay-at-home orders are lifted. While the work-from-home experience has been more enjoyable than not for most, we learned three important takeaways.

Video Has and Will Continue to be Indispensable

Video conferencing has been an essential tool during the pandemic with 94% of respondents relying on video conferencing for communication, compared to 74% using Slack or Microsoft Teams. Moving forward, 83% of respondents will continue to use video communications to stay connected with colleagues if or when they return to the office.

While work from home has been agreeable for most, respondents still feel that the experience has some downsides – 70% of respondents miss face-to-face interactions, 48% think working remotely makes it harder to collaborate, 35% feel lonely, and 43% feel the stress of having to be "always on." When we were building Jamm as a remote team, we understood this problem first hand and believed that video could be a game changer. It's the in-between meeting conversations over lunch or across desks that more closely mimic how we communicate and collaborate in real life, which can't be replaced with Zoom happy hours.

Returning to Work FOMO Free

As some companies make the transition back into the office, employees will most likely have to alternate days working from home to avoid crowded office space. Fortunately, a majority of respondents (57%), felt they would not be missing out if they remained working remotely while others worked together in the office.

Since these work-from-home protocols will be necessary for companies to comply with sustained social distancing, a lack of "FOMO" from employees is good news. With Zoom, Google, Jamm, and other video conferencing apps, employees are able to stay connected with their coworkers from around the world without having to travel. Video enables teams to quickly huddle to accomplish tasks across cities and timezones without missing out.

Employees Need to Know What's Next

With all of this in mind, companies will inevitably need to adjust to the new reality. Employers will need to communicate their new work-from-home policies as soon as possible to set boundaries and provide clarity to employees. It will also become crucial for managers to trust their employees when working remotely. While 65% of respondents said they won't be one of the first people to return to the office, safety is still their top priority when it comes to entering the office again.

To continue working from home for an extended period of time, managers need to understand that results and morale are what's important, not the number of heads in the office. In addition, flexibility is key. Not everyone will be comfortable with coming into contact with clients and coworkers, so letting teams swap in-person meetings for emails or video conferences when possible is the best alternative for social distancing purposes.

As remote work continues, companies will need to accommodate flexible schedules and distributed teams to meet the demand of our new reality. Video makes this possible by not only enabling teams to quickly connect and accomplish tasks, but also allowing colleagues to easily give context by sending video messages. The need of the hour is to enable more engaging modes of collaborating and to maintain social cohesion in this remote-work world.

For the most part, teams have been able to make working from home work. Now it's up to employers to take what they have learned over the past few months and implement changes for the long-term.

Badri Rajasekar is the co-founder and CEO of Jamm, a video collaboration tool.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


ADHD and Dyslexia Often Aren't Caught Until It's Too Late. Santa Monica-Based Polygon Wants to Change That.

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

ADHD and Dyslexia Often Aren't Caught Until It's Too Late. Santa Monica-Based Polygon Wants to Change That.
Courtesy of Polygon

Here’s how Jack Rolo describes his childhood: He was good at chess, and bad at spelling. He was good at math, and bad at reading. Rolo went on to study physics at Durham University in his native England—and despite often struggling in his courses, it wasn’t until after he graduated that he was diagnosed with dyslexia, a common language processing disorder that affects reading.

Rolo’s experiences informed his founding of Polygon, a Santa Monica-based diagnostics startup that emerged from stealth on Friday with $4.2 million in funding, and the goal of better diagnosing dyslexia, ADHD and other learning-related disabilities. The funding includes a $3.6 million seed round led by Spark Capital, as well as $600,000 in pre-seed funding led by Pear VC.

Read more Show less

ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel on How the Job Market Has Shifted

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter
Image courtesy of ZipRecruiter

On this episode of Office Hours, host Spencer Rascoff talked with ZipRecruiter CEO and founder Ian Siegel about how he built his company, the lessons he's learned along the way and how he's seen the pandemic drastically reshape the job market—probably for good.

Read more Show less

Riot Games Doubles Down on Mobile With ‘Aim Lab’ Investment

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Riot Games Doubles Down on Mobile With ‘Aim Lab’ Investment
Image from Aim Lab

Riot Games has invested in virtual shooting range developer Statespace, accelerating the Los Angeles video game publisher’s efforts to dominate the mobile gaming space.

Read more Show less