There is an assumption that the world of office work is dead, that the lockdown and switch to digital has finally done what many had predicted, and perhaps hoped, would happen one day.
My LinkedIn feed is full of people arguing that there is no way the working population is going to head back to the confines of an office having tasted the freedoms of homeworking.
But there are just as many claiming the return to the office is not only inevitable but necessary as people yearn to return to a professional environment that can’t be crashed by children, pets or an Amazon delivery.
And either of these groups may be right but one thing has struck me – their belief is based on their experience and that of those around them. If it’s true for me and my friends and colleagues, then it must be a universal truth, seems to be the rationale.
It’s another example of the echo chambers most of us live in today where our use of social media has corralled us into homogenous groups where everyone thinks or hopes for the same thing. And that is comforting but it’s not a true representation of the facts and the truth.
If we want to find that, we need to make the effort to get beyond our personal bubbles and into a world of opinions that may not match our own. And the same can be said for companies seeking to understand their own profile in a market, the service they provide and how their products meet customer needs.
Too often, as businesses and as individuals, we inadvertently create a false narrative for ourselves by relying on the opinions and views of those we already know, which robs us of the full panorama of opinions out there.
Social media promised an answer to that conundrum but, as we now know, it only seems to have made it worse. That is probably because the profiles we follow for our information or fun, is directly influenced by us, fed by our own instincts, biases and persuasions.
And for businesses, this can be a dangerous path to head down which is why undertaking periodic, independent research is so important. It is one thing to survey your key clients or distributors for their view on you, and other thing entirely to undertake a broader pulse of the market.
Because those key clients are key clients for a reason – because they are probably getting the attention, the service and the support their position as a key client dictates. And they can tell us only of their own experience, which is likely to be the best of us, not the worst. And it we are to get near to the objective truth, we need both.
We have to be willing to hear the good and the bad and come to decisions or to build strategies around that. And that can only be achieved with independent research.
The bubbles we create for ourselves and our businesses – in real and digital life – are comforting but they are also misleading and basing decision-making on a misleading view of a given situation, can lead to disaster.
It takes a certain amount of confidence and even bravery to be willing to hear the bad as well as the good, but ultimately, the only truth that matters, the only one that can be used to get the right results, is the objective truth. And that can never be secured within the confines of our self-imposed bubbles.
If your business is interested in gathering key learning via independent research and insight, please get in touch and we can discuss the possibilities and how we can help.