Silver Linings: 5 Positive Developments During the Pandemic

Upsides in Difficult Times

Coronavirus has hit everyone hard. Whether you’ve been stuck in lockdown alone for months, juggled working and teaching kids at home, or seen your hours or pay reduced, you have almost certainly felt the impact in some way.

But even as the pandemic lingers on, companies have managed to find bright spots in a dark time. Innovation is everywhere, productivity is up in places, remote work makes more sense, decision-making has been streamlined, and colleagues all over the world have new ways to connect with each other.

Innovation Abounds

When COVID-19 started hitting the U.S. hard in the spring, it became clear that lockdowns and quarantines would change everything. Eating in restaurants was largely out. Going to the movies or a Broadway show was out. Generally being indoors with other people was out, out, out.

And that has spurred innovation in some exciting and unexpected ways. Many companies have shifted to producing personal protective equipment and other gear. Streateries and open-street policies are helping some restaurants weather the storm. Everything from fitness classes to live theater has gone virtual.

That includes Watson Adventures, of course. We realized early on that gathering people together for team building events in museums, neighborhoods, and even their own offices would be a non-starter for a while. So we pivoted to virtual team building fast, converting many of our existing games and creating brand new ones to create a wide line-up of virtual games played using our custom app and run through Zoom and other video-conferencing programs. Only days into our lockdown, we had moved from offering in-person team building to leveraging museum websites, online virtual tours, and other assets to keep team building going virtually.

More Productive Than Ever

According to Forbes, productivity is up. These days, fewer workers have to waste time commuting, and distractions from co-workers or impromptu meetings are down when you’re not around your co-workers. And honestly, all that pivoting and innovating is hard work—many employees and managers are working harder than ever just to adapt to the new normal.

Also, many companies are finding that new circumstances have caused them to find ways to cut costs. By going virtual, for example, we have saved money on physical materials like printed clue sheets.

Goodbye, Cubicles

Of course, the fact that productivity is up while so many people work from home has shattered that old myth that remote workers are inherently less productive than in-the-office workers. And that’s great for some companies!

According to a survey by KPMG, 68% of CEOs of large companies plan to downsize their office space now that they know they don’t have to stuff employees into cubicles to get things done. Companies will save overhead on often pricey space and employees will save time and money on commuting, all while productivity thrives. That’s pretty win-win.

Making Decisions Faster

All this pivoting and adapting during the pandemic, and the need to respond quickly in the face of crisis, has reminded managers and CEOs to focus on what’s important and what isn’t. And with that we have seen a trend toward streamlined decision-making.

To use Watson Adventures as an example, there wasn’t time to sit back and take our time designing new virtual games. Brainstorming for days or weeks, gathering outside opinions, those would have taken too much time. We approached the pivot with laser focus, quickly targeting what worked and making it happen.

Virtually Face to Face

One great paradox of these strange times is that even as we see colleagues (not to mention friends and family) in person less than ever, we can connect with distant colleagues more easily than ever. We now live and work in an age of video-conferencing. As the tech blog The Verge puts it, “Seemingly everyone knows about Zoom now.” Which means that for the first time, seemingly everyone knows how to use Zoom.

No matter where in the country or world your colleagues are, you can now virtually do things together you couldn’t do as easily before: have lunch meetings, practice yoga together, enjoy happy hour. Or, of course, enjoy team building events together. Now, we were using Zoom before it became a household word, connecting company divisions in different cities with our Murder by Team Building Game. But in recent months we have seen international remote teams working together and networking like they never had before. We built our Around the World Scavenger Hunt and Around the World Scavenger Hunt: The Asia Pacific Game specifically for such groups.

Find Your Own Silver Lining

Whether it’s to mark a milestone or just an excuse to hang out with your colleagues, bring your team together with a Watson Adventures virtual team building event. You can solve a murder, travel the country, show off your trivia skills, and much more.


Photo credits: Lead photo by Marc Wieland on Unsplash