A world without traffic jams?

One of the consequences of the global quarantine is the absence of traffic jams. We only see some traffic issues at the European borders due to border controls (who could have imagined that a few weeks ago).

A second consequence is a boost in usage of online tools. The world is seeing the largest digital training course ever. The stock of Zoom Communications is having a pretty positive run. Everybody is discovering the efficiency of virtual meetings. Managers feel the efficiency of working from home and grandparents use skype to see their grandchildren.

In a few weeks/months from now the world will have this first Covid-19 outbreak more or less under control (hopefully). People will go back to work and there is a big chance that traffic jams will return like they were never gone. Maybe some people will even enjoy being in them again. Back to the old normal.

 

That would be such a missed opportunity!

 

This is a unique moment in time to solve the traffic jam issue. For the first time in history, we have an empty page (road) to redesign the mobility habits of our world.

First of all, everyone will be well-trained in digital meetings so there are no more excuses. Secondly, many employers will come to realise that you can actually trust your employees to work from home. So many companies blocked working for home for years but now they don’t have a choice. It stands to reason that many of them will now rethink their remote working strategy. So once this crisis is over we will have accomplished several things:

  1. A higher overall skill set in the usage of online tools, which will lead to more virtual meetings
  2. Companies now have the technical infrastructure to allow working from home
  3. There will be less of a mental barrier towards digital applications than before the crisis.

 

Taking all this into account, wouldn’t it be great if we could spread the number of people going to the office throughout the day or week?

 

The strategy that the world follows right now to fight COVID-19, flattening the curve, avoids a peak and spreads hospital capacity over a longer time. By doing so, we hope to save many lives. This exact same philosophy can be used to remove all traffic jams. Let’s avoid the peak by offering office workers the opportunity to have their first meetings at home or to work from home one or two days a week. They could leave later to the office or spend the entire day at home. If every company allows working from home for at least a part of the office time, we would see a steep decrease in traffic jams. Maybe there can be two types of meetings: the ones that should be done as efficient as possible and others where you need to be more creative, or where difficult messages have to be brought. Many meetings will be more efficient if we optimize the usage of virtual tools. It will create more time for the meetings that really matter and where physical presence is a plus. Simple new guidelines and habits could solve an issue that seemed to be unsolvable a few weeks ago. Let’s hope that companies don’t just turn the clock back after the crisis. I’m starting to dream about a world without traffic jams and I truly believe it’s doable.

 

This is just one example on how we could use the current crisis to solve some important issues of today’s society. I’m sure there are more habits that we could transform. Let’s re-think certain bad habits. Let’s not waste this unique reset of our daily routines.