Re-imagining: Where and What
After more than a year of many office workers being forced into a remote working experiment, the major question seems to be on where this work will happen going forward. Will it continue to be remote? Is it best to have everyone back in their respective offices, like before? And is hybrid work (a combination of in-office and remote) the solution of the future? I do not have a universal answer to this. And I would suggest from a collaborative lens of – don’t do anything about me, without me – that you enter a genuine dialogue with your people about what works best for you and them. There will be more options going forward. And if you are not inquiring, then you may be at risk with both retention and recruitment. Some of that data is already starting to percolate up. Employer beware.
And even though the where seems to be the focus of most conversations, I would suggest that what may be more important. If one were to objectively look at the work of most executives, it would appear that most of the what is - to attend meetings. During the pandemic, this was essentially translated from in-person to remote, and most organizations were off and running as usual. In my newsletter last month, I addressed the need to be better stewards of people’s time by looking at our unconscious default setting of meetings in organizations. How might we re-imagine what?
I humorously say that until we go robotic, both our employees and customers continue to be humans. As humans, we are social creatures looking for connection, and the pandemic has highlighted this more than ever. Part of the new what is to better connect with both our employees and customers. How would they like that to happen? I would suggest asking – What do you need from me to feel better connected going forward? Another part of the new what is to pause and ask - What have I/We learned about ourselves and each other during this time? How do we take that learning forward in an intentional and accountable way? These new conversations will begin a dialogue towards re-imagining our relationships, our connectivity, and concern for one another. How we do, what we do, invites us to show up with both our heart and head with one another. I suggest that when we do so, it will have better outcomes than any given meeting.