Coordination and Organisation in Knowledge Sectors
The pandemic has not affected everyone in the same way, but it has changed a lot. Interestingly enough, the last few months have shown that there are other organisational solutions available than those we’ve been familiar with so far. The recent time has taught us that our life can be simpler, calmer, less busy. We certainly don’t have to travel that much. We’ve been given the time to think what the world around us can look like.
And it has turned out that there are alternatives that can be used in the future. We have been – and still are – witnessing rapid changes in organisations, forced to react quickly to the looming threat. We’ve seen people organise themselves bottom up, we’ve realised we are able to act, organise support groups, that we have huge reserves of kindness that can be expressed by engaging in voluntary initiatives. And so it’s time to reflect and decide which of the experiences, ‘products’ of the recent period we’d like to keep and what consequences it can involve.
Changes in the coordination and organisation processes can be seen in particular among knowledge workers. Both Kozminski University and other higher education institutions across the world still operate. But now coordination takes place not on the premises of the university but in kitchens, living rooms, and home offices of the university’s employees. Knowledge workers have actually always worked at home to some extent. But today, the home office has become a necessity. Taking our entire offices to our homes means not only that we have come to appreciate our micro-environments, our small garden outside, but also that we need to reorganise the way we have been working so far. The idea of working time has changed as well. We don’t work fixed hours any more. Working time is becoming more flexible, fluid. We’re still conducting research, organising the workflow of our research teams, and teaching classes, but we’re doing so using mobile communication applications. This requires, in turn, a good-quality internet connection, etc.
It seems that we don’t fully understand the consequences of all these changes. It’s also a good idea to start a discussion on which of the emergent solutions we’d like to keep for longer and which of them should be left as measures recommended only in crisis situations. One thing is certain: there are huge changes ahead of us: from architecture and a redefinition of the role of city centres through virtual money payments ending with development of services for local communities and of artificial intelligence. It’s up to you to choose. I do hope this choice is preceded by an in-depth reflection.
The text is part of the publication "The New Normal. Reality in the times of the global Covid-19 pandemic. A commentary by the faculty of Kozminski University".