Click Raise Hand If You Agree With Johnson's Law of Remote Communication

… & crickets …

As one hack’s twitter thread reported, despite the supposed Chatham House Rules of its tubthump reset conference call source;

[UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson to 250 business leaders –

‘I make a prediction to you all on Zoom who say you are going to change your business models:
I don’t believe it.
Johnson’s Law of Remote Communication is that the more people can get on Zoom the more they will actually want to interact physically.
They will bring back life, buzz, activity and dynamism to our cities.
That’s what will get the UK economy whirring again.’

In the laughably yet still funny unscientific survey that is the six respondents who expressed their sentiment towards this forecast at the time, 100 per cent of them dismissed it as “codswallop”.

They do believe it.

Zoom, it appears to them, is here to stay.

There have been screenfuls of opinion pieces suggesting that the zoomiverse is set to contract from the dizzying expanse it presently occupies. And sooner than many people may think.

Even the normally tech-trumpeting FT’s Undercover Economist, Tim Harford, thinks the shake out, whenever it occurs, may follow a study which;

…estimates that remote work in the US will become more than four times as common after the pandemic, increasing from 5 per cent to 22 per cent of work days.

As he points out, whilst over a fourfold jump on 2019 WFHers, and feeling significantly less than the 60pc of Americans that worked remotely during May 2020, “it would still be a seismic fall in demand for commuting and city-centre office space“.

In other words, we will all notice the difference.

The balance undeniably set to shift.

The number of days worked away from the office will not magically skip nearer to zero. More likely that a majority of those previously attending the office all five days a week will now do so on only four. Many others taking greater advantage of the new attitude towards and gains arising from virtual working.

What about my Law of Remote Communication?

I’m reminded of science. Where theories describe how something behaves; laws describe how much something behaves.

In which context, the Theory is surely that remote communication rises as the world shrinks. Leaving the question of the Law; by how much will the virtual replace the physical?

I agree that where the degree of improvisation is high – in such as a solution seller’s day – the ability to conduct ad hoc discussion in personal proximity remains a vital component of task completion.

Yet there remain a great number of tasks which are systemisable. Even if the sales process is not yet fully systemised.

Where a succession of these are in play, they will be done over virtual means.

Where they tend to outweigh the duration of irregular activities, then those traditionally happy bumpings into off the corridor will move away from the in-person presence.

Our job is to ensure neither lose the impact in the new zoom order.

Have you begun to work out which is which yet?

What is your Law of Remote Communication?

And what steps have you taken to get the most out of it?

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