I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

In May of 2018, at an event hosted by the CDC to commemorate the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, entitled 100 years of Influenza Pandemics and Practice: 1918-2018 the doctors and scientists present warned that the risk of another Spanish flu-like pandemic was high.

One of the speakers at the event Dr. Luciana Borio asked this rhetorical question: “Are we ready to respond to a pandemic?” She continued: “I fear the answer is no.

This wasn’t the only warning either.

Now, how many business leadership teams would you guess were aware of the risks discussed at this event and had a plan in place for this?

5 months later they were forced into #remotework ready or not.

Below is an email I received in Oct 2019 from a Business Continuity Manager about designing a digital workplace that could allow for anywhere working.

5 months later they were forced into remote work, ready or not.

The risk of future pandemics remains high as we have done nothing about the root cause of zoonotic disease outbreaks – and this is not the only major risk to mobility looming on the horizon either.

As a result of all that has transpired my recommendation to leadership teams is: You have been given an opportunity to become independent of a physical office building and the need to commute to one. Learn the best practices to do this well, you will not regret the effort considering what is likely to transpire in the future.