To succeed in 2021, leaders will need to address new and different challenges. The books have not yet been written; there is no post-pandemic research or proven practice guide you.
Instead, leaders need to co-create a new way of working – balancing remote, hybrid or 100% office; collaboration and high performing silos; transformation and growth; team performance and resilience.
Leaders need to achieve objectives AND evolve to a new way of working AND (importantly) involve employees in the process.
“… reflect on the possibility that things have changed permanently and try to show some flexibility for their employees. Some adaptation might be necessary. For instance, it might be necessary to order staff into the workplace on specific days for specific reasons, such as brainstorming sessions or training. Rather than clinging to the old stereotypes, however, smart employers should listen to the employees who want some of the COVID-19 changes to be permanent.” Sydney Morning Herald
And while our economy has been influenced by an abundance of global data, local research provides some extremely relevant insights.
According to research from McCrindle, 61% of Australians look forward to a hybrid workplace and more flexible working arrangements:
“The ideal for more than one in three (34%) is that the majority of time is spent working from home and employees come into the office for meetings/project collaboration.
It is likely that the aspects of workplace culture and community that are missed when working solely from home are still met when employees meet in the workplace to collaborate.”
Further, research into remote and hybrid working by the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council reflects on our experience during Covid-19 and what it means for the future of work, including an average improvement of 13% in productivity. However purposeful collaboration remains a challenge.
“Remote working shows promise in making us happier and more productive, but it doesn’t always go smoothly. It can be hard bouncing ideas off one another and collaborating.”
While it is evident that many of us can work remotely much of the time, offices will become central to collaboration and social interaction; a place to gather for in-person collaboration, team-building, and ‘non-remotable’ tasks. This hybrid model combines the best aspects of remote work and the benefits of gathering together in one location.
However, there are also barriers to remote working include feelings of isolation, lack of motivation and tasks which cannot be done remotely.
Involve to Evolve
For organisations to evolve into a new way of working, leaders must involve their staff in the process, co-creating a solution based on flexibility and teamwork. Whether you develop a workplace first, remote-first or blended approach, our research shows that collaborative teams are built on trust, common purpose, equal voice, diversity of thinking, shared values, shared accountability, mutual respect, and psychological safety.
Building relationships in-person and maintaining them online will be critical.
Where do you start?
Start with your team or network. Take some time to “Pause and Reflect”, to explore and share what is and isn’t working.
Then, with an understanding of your unique situation, evolve through a planned strategy for growth and transformation, and involve everyone on the journey.
Our “Pause & Reflect” Tool can help.