The lockdown conditions imposed on workers across the country have changed the way businesses run and the way that individuals carry out their day-to-day roles.
And despite the easing of lockdown restrictions across much of the country and non-essential shops opening on the high streets and in the shopping centres, many office blocks and working hubs still remain closed and will remain that way until at least the 4th of July.
Indeed, the likes of Twitter and others will continue to have staff working remotely even after we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, many others still are giving workers the option to continue working from home more often post-lockdown, even if it is on a part-time basis.
This will, of course, create a number of obstacles for managers and workers to overcome, such as how best to manage productivity, maintain morale and facilitate idea sharing, whilst simultaneously making sure John from IT isn’t spending all his working hours playing FIFA.
But as freelancers are used to the challenges presented by working from home and running a virtual office, and that includes ensuring that we actually do work instead of procrastinating the day away making endless to-do lists or watching old reruns of Only Fools and Horses.
And this will help set us up for success in the new normal of the post-corona world as everyone else struggles to get to grips with the trials and tribulations of dodgy wifi, dogs barking when the postman clatters the letterbox, or even your Nan knocking on your front door just to say hi as she pops to the shop for her morning paper.
This doesn’t, however, mean that we won’t face any of the challenges associated with working amidst the restrictions of social distancing and closed offices.
Clients will be more likely to be remote working, so the business meeting that used to take place over a cup of coffee and a stale sandwich will now take place over video conferencing tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Networking events, where so many business cards are exchanged and new business relationships forged, have already been cancelled, meaning that LinkedIn and word of mouth will be back on top when it comes to meeting business partners and winning new business.
This will require freelancers to think differently about how they engage with potential new clients, as well as the way they service and manage their relationships with existing ones.
There are benefits too, however, to this new world of lockdown.
As a freelancer based in a different city to most of my clients, I have actually benefited from increased contact time with the people I work for and with.
Whereas my colleagues’ meetings may have taken place next to the water cooler or across desks before the lockdown restrictions came into force, these are now taking place virtually in video conferences where team members can pop in to share ideas, develop business strategies or simply chat about last night’s episode of Killing Eve (with boxsets of course becoming the mandatory topic of conversation now that everyone has been cooped up at home for the past three months and counting).
This means that I now have more time to engage with the people I work alongside, get creative and come up with new solutions to problems that may have otherwise gone unsolved.
New social events are also springing up that can help create that bond that usually might have been formed with colleagues over a beer or down the local bowling alley.
Zoom quizzes, virtual choirs and just regular video chit chat hangouts have all become the new way of engaging with workers, clients and customers, and in this new normal you don’t even have to be in the same city.
For freelancers who have been used to this remote way of working with people and businesses, we already have the knowledge, expertise and self-discipline to set us up for success in a post-coronavirus world.
And now is time for us to make the most of it.