Last Friday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on the topic, 2020 Brought About Many Short-Term Changes in the Business World but How Short Term Are They? A huge thank you to our panelists Marc Kermisch, Chief Technology Officer at OptumRX; Julie Durham, Chief Technology Officer, UnitedHealthcare at UnitedHealth Group; Tom Butterfield, EVP Chief Technology & Operations Officer at TCF Bank; and Mike McNamara, Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Digital Officer at Target for sharing their insights for 2021. Thank you to everyone who joined us as well! 

Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our members and a summary of what was discussed. 

How will the skill of building relationships within a company change as a result of the remote work phenomenon? 

The panelists agreed that spending more time on being genuine with their employees and having human empathy will be an important skill for building relationships from now on. Relationships with each other will be more informal, and leaders are working on creating connections that they haven’t had to make before. Moving forward, leaders are trying to figure out how they can have things work while being half in the office and half remote.  

How important is face to face interaction in the corporate world? When is it undeniably beneficial, and when is it not necessary? 

Most of what companies are doing does not have to be in person technically, but it’s about the work’s nature. Having a collaborative and creative workspace is tough in a virtual environment, which is where companies feel like they are lacking. Every human believes in something on what should be virtual and what should not be, but Covid has forced us to adapt to the remote environment. The panelists also made a note on how different generations believe different things on working remotely versus not 

Assuming you’ve adopted a “Hire from Anywhere” approach during WFH, how has that worked, and will you continue with it even as some workers return to the office? 

The conference room is not the center of the universe so having some workers in the office while others are not is something that some people will have to adapt to.  Other states are reaching out to the Midwest IT community, which will cause some competitive pressure. The panelists also agreed that now is not the time to think about this situation. They want to focus on their own upcoming challenges.  

What so-called temporary changes surprised you the most? And how will that impact things going forward? 

Leaders thought it would take over 400 days to move their workforce remotely, but they did it in 10 days. It’s interesting to look back and see how much companies had to change in a few short days. The changes everyone has had to make are sticking longer than initially thought.  

The office is going to look different when everyone eventually comes back in. It’s going to be an enjoyable, creative space that gives employees a reason to be excited about being in the office. The panelists all agreed that they are looking forward to 2021 and to see what it holds for each one of their companies and teams.