The Global Pandemic has redefined the ‘art of the possible’ for all of us. The fast and effective adoption of technology to enable virtual working is one Genie that will never go back into the bottle. Leaders and managers around the globe are looking to embrace this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and create a more agile, hybrid way of working.
This has changed the landscape for many line managers and organisational leaders and the way they lead and manage will have to change too.
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Lynda Gratton, a professor at London Business School, makes the case that the move to a work anywhere, anytime hybrid model will succeed only if it is designed with human concerns taken into account. She suggests that roles can be mapped onto a two dimensional matrix using Time and Place:
When deciding what works best for your organisation and / or teams, there are four different perspectives to consider:
#1 Jobs & Tasks
Think about the critical drivers of productivity: Energy; Focus; Coordination; and Cooperation. Different tasks require different considerations. For example, for a financial planner one of the key drivers is focus. Such roles should be freed from time constraints and can work anytime and place is also not relevant, so they are a contender for anytime, anywhere ways of working.
Contrast this role with that of a team manager. Here the critical driver of success is coordination and time for them needs to be synchronised with their team. Again place of work is less of a driver as they can coordinate with their team either face to face or via remote platforms.
For roles that require energy and / or cooperation, such as a product innovator, or marketing manager, then this type of role is best served with hub-style office environment using team technologies that enable easy collaboration.
#2 Employee Preferences
Personal impact is the sum of skills and proclivities. Organisations have spent a fortune assessing skills and competencies but are only recently starting to track proclivities. Our Change Maker Profile is a leading edge tool that shows proclivities and enables anyone to really understand how they can best contribute to the role they have. It can also show the distribution of proclivities around a team, this is a valuable insight to map onto the tasks and processes the team is accountable for. Please contact us if you would like to know more about this valuable profiling tool.
In addition to our proclivities our personal situation has to be taken into account. Do we have the space to work at home comfortably and without distraction? If not then coming to work may be a desired option, despite the downside and cost of the commute.
Another consideration is do we thrive of the energy of others and feel lonely if isolated from colleagues? A simple diagnostic survey tool can provide valuable insights on personal preferences and to enable organisations to tailor solutions to best fit personal preferences.
#3 How Work is Done
When work colleagues are all in the same place, at the same time, then coordination of work is simply a matter of calendar and room management. In an Agile & Hybrid organisation this coordination activity can be far more complex.
Some managers simply block book some time in everyone’s calendars to ensure there is an anchor in the day / week / month where everyone ‘shows up’. Others let individuals optimise their time and allow common sense compromises and some give and take across the team. A lot depends on the maturity and culture within the team to make this work well.
Finally, a lot of work can and should be automated. By removing tasks from people, the issue of time and place becomes irrelevant as computers really do not care!
#4 Inclusion & Fairness
This is vital for teams to thrive and productivity to flourish. There needs to be a transparent, understandable rationale for the Agile and Hybrid workplace. Engagement tools and discussion groups all have a role to play here, and whilst it will be virtually impossible to please all of the people all of the time, this should not be an excuse to try!
The challenge for leaders is to create a fit for the future work environment that everybody will find engaging, fair, inspiring and meaningful.
If you would like to talk to us about how we can help you achieve this aim then please start a conversation.