Today’s insights are brought to you by my colleague and futurist, Graeme Codrington.
Companies continue to be completely at sea with their hybrid working policies. Three key mistakes stand out for me:
1. They don’t understand that “hybrid” – by very definition – means flexibility and change. So, they’re trying to come up with hybrid policies that are as rigid (sometimes even more so) than their pre-Covid workplace policies. “You must be at the office 3 days a week” is a classic example of this. Why 3 days? Why not 2 or 4? And for what reason.
The solution: Change the conversation to start with “under what conditions will we do our best work?” and “what work really needs us to be at the office together?”
2. Senior leaders still can’t imagine that virtual sessions can be better than face to face. I have just had a client cancel a session on “building healthy hybrid teams” because they’ve decided they don’t want to do it virtually; they want to do it face to face (and they’re based in the USA and don’t have the budget to get me there). They went through a lengthy procurement process to select me as their preferred (even “perfect”) partner, to share our team’s frameworks on this important topic.
The solution: Change your attitude and embrace the virtual world – there are things that are BETTER virtual than face to face. One such thing just might be a workshop on how to run virtual teams (#whodathunkit, right?)
3. Team leaders have still not realised that a lot of their leadership style is based on control and micromanagement. If you confront them with this, they’ll deny it every day. But in reality, they want everyone to have their cameras on in every team meeting (so that they can see who’s concentrating, and who’s doing other work); they want people in the office, so that they can have eyes on them (as if this will guarantee productivity); and they’re back to policing dress codes, when we’ve all spent two years getting even more comfortable with business casual. etc. etc. etc.
The solution: Just stop it.
Return to work policies, by which most people mean “return to normal”, are giving strong signals about whether companies are forward or backward thinking. No thinking person wants to work for an organisation that is facing backwards and moving towards the past. It is now both urgent and important to build future-fit people and workplace policies. Your future depends on it. Literally.
Author of today’s tip, Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.