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.


Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

So, what does this mean for tech workers in LA County?

Read moreShow less

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

Read moreShow less

Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

Read moreShow less