New ways of working in 2022
As I write this, in early October 2021, NSW and Victoria are moving quickly towards the 70% vaccine targets. There is a degree of optimism in the air and even though case numbers are still high, we all hope that the worst of the pandemic is behind us.
It's too early to say whether we will we see more people returning to work in an office over the next few months. One of the challenges organisations are facing is how to retain and attract talent, as we learn to live and work side by side, with Covid19. Retaining talent appears to be a real concern. According to a recent McKinsey study, 40% of staff across the globe, are considering leaving their current employers by the end of the year. Working from home and the pandemic has for some people, changed the way they think about their priorities, helping them crystallise their values.
It is hard to predict with any certainty what the working landscape for 2022 and beyond will look like. If we look at the situation in the USA and the UK we can see that there has been only a small return to full time working in the office. Certainly not a bounce back to the way it was prior to Covid19.
For some companies in Australia, working from home has already become the new normal. For others, we predict we will see a hybrid approach, with a mix of perhaps 2 days at home and 3 days in an office each week. For certain people, depending on their circumstances, working full time in an office will be most suitable, whilst for others working from home will be the best option. In a recent Korn Ferry survey, 32% of respondents said they would never return to working in an office.
Working from home will be the place for getting work actioned and completed. The office will be the place to collaborate, create and build high quality relationships.
Over the past 20 years, working as a corporate trainer, I have seen first-hand the benefit of people coming together in a face to face environment. There is a mountain of evidence that suggests that building new relationships is better done in person than online. There is a generation of people, some of whom are now close to graduating from University, with little or no idea how to build new relationships in a face to face environment. We now have a generation of employees and business owners who excel in building online relationships. If you have teenagers in your home, you would have witnessed first-hand how connected they are through their gaming or social media, to online audiences.
If people continue to work remotely into 2022 and beyond some of the questions leaders need to address include:
- What will happen to our existing relationships, with our own teams and with our clients?
- What will happen to innovation, creativity and spontaneity?
- What will happen to our culture?
Leaders know that for most employees, no matter what they say, a certain amount of face to face interaction will be critical. Balancing this against safety and societal trends will be delicate.
In recent months, I have been in discussions with a number of clients, about new ways of working program. It's vital that staff are brought on the journey with you. Listening closely to your team, identifying what really matters to them and balancing this with the needs of the business, will all be critical.
Successful leaders, more than ever, need a broad range of skills. Empathy, leading a remote team and attracting and retaining talent will be more important than ever. In 2022 we will see some organisations transitioning to new ways of working, however it is unlikely that there will be a one size fits all approach. By planning carefully, talking with your staff, upskilling your leaders and deliberately allocating time to new ways of working, you could be well on your way to setting up your organisation for success in 2022 and beyond.
If you are interested in discussing how I could facilitate a new ways of working program for your leadership team, please get in touch. M: 0421 864 288 or email.