Episode 3: Why did I bother coming in? – Reimagining the role of the office and our working patterns
It’s a no-brainer that the expectations of the workforce have shifted so dramatically that different working patterns are now no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a non-negotiable. Organisations need to quickly adapt to a more distributed world. Going forward, asking your people where and how they work best will be vital to attract and retain your top talent and cultivate a healthy workplace culture. Right now, for many across the organisation, it is unclear if the balance is correct between what our people want, what our customers and stakeholders require, and what is needed for the organisation to operate effectively.
We have seen a big shift towards increased levels of autonomy, with teams having greater freedom to decide how they work. Enabling team autonomy is critical to improving engagement, creating a greater sense of purpose, reducing attrition, and removing bureaucracy.
However, making this shift is easier said than done. Organisations need to redefine the “why” and “how” behind their ways of working, strategies, and norms. We now need a long-term, sustainable approach that treats the new ways of working as the default, not something that will fade away.
From our experience, effectively embed these new ways of working by:
- Understanding your teams’ needs and requirements. How do your different teams best get things done, learn, collaborate, and tackle challenges together? How do they tend to build relationships within and across teams and stay connected? Make sure you get a good sense of the type of work each team does and what their unique needs are. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work.
- Redefining the role of the office. Think about the role of the office and how it is used. The purpose and function of physical office space needs to align with the evolving needs and dynamics of your workforce. Reimagine the office as a space that complements and enhances the benefits of remote work.
- Getting your teams to set clear working agreements. Teams must learn to coordinate their schedules and working patterns to optimise collaboration and successfully meet business needs. The latest research by Gallup shows that hybrid workers are most engaged when their team (versus their company or individuals) agrees on the ways of working that best work for them. Where and how can work best get done? Where and how should decisions be made? How do teams best communicate, learn, innovate, collaborate, celebrate, and socialise in a much more deliberate way?
- Upskilling your team leaders. Equip your leaders with the skills and tools to have the right conversations with their teams. Sharing individual circumstances requires trust that it won’t negatively impact career opportunities. Team leaders have even more responsibility with this information and a need to ensure that all members are treated fairly.
- Making the most out of technology. Leverage technology in new ways to cultivate a healthy and inclusive culture. Boost engagement, connectedness, and productivity by implementing digital collaboration tools, enable digital recognition and appreciation, utilise online learning and development platforms, pulse surveys, and digital communication channels. Find what works for your organisation and use it consistently.
If this topic is of interest or you are facing a similar challenge in your organisation. We would love to chat!
Head of Culture
Director | Global Head of Organiational Design
Find out more about how we help define working patterns here: