In the past two years, there have been innumerable articles exploring what the new future of work could look like. For some of us, including our team at Veldhoen + Company Asia, it might seem like we are already there, working in fully distributed teams, and coming together virtually and in-person to collaborate, connect and create.
We might have just turned the pages into the new year, but with the relaxation of COVID-19 regulations, will organisations succumb to knee jerk reactions and revert to decades-long practises with a return to office mandates? Or, will they adopt more mindful approaches towards meeting employee needs, and attempt to find a middle ground in matching corporate goals with employee expectations?
Knowledge workers around the globe have collectively undergone a unique experience during the pandemic. Regardless of each person’s comfort level, almost everyone has gone on to sharpen their finesse in adjusting to remote and hybrid ways of working. Instead of focusing on jargon like “the new normal” or “the next normal”, it’s high time we come back to the drawing board to decide how we can come together to develop the framework for a better world of work.
Build an open culture for questions and feedback
The world of work is undergoing an evolution. There is no playbook for guaranteed outcomes because as humans we are unique in the way we behave, and the way we work. And let’s be honest, we are all trialling for the best-fit formula for our organisations and people. By being open to questions and constructive feedback, we can get there a lot faster.
When we create a culture for open communications, we encourage conversations, questions and feedback. This allows us to do better and be better. Open communication is an important tool to help build strong organisational culture, trust and empowerment.
Bridging the gap with technology
A large part of collaboration has always been about in-person interactions but when that was not possible, we learned to collaborate asynchronously. This shift has allowed us to be time and location independent, applying activity based thinking to the way we work. So long as we are in an environment suited for the activity, we can collaborate remotely via tools like Teams, Slack and Miro, among others. While technology is no substitute for in-person interactions, it has allowed us to stay connected.
As organisations look towards returning to the office, opportunities to socialise and collaborate with colleagues will be a big draw to attract employees back. Office management technology can help employees plan ahead on when to be at the office and where to work, instead of showing up and then finding out that their teammates are working from home and missing out on precious collaboration time.
Equip your people with the right skills
When we talk about skills at work, most people automatically think about technical and soft skills. As the line between work and personal blur, equipping employees with the skill sets to manage their mental health and help them achieve a balanced lifestyle is key as we move towards creating a better world of work.
A few months ago, I participated in a Healthy Mind Platter workshop by my colleague Tim de Vos. If you are unfamiliar, Healthy Mind Platter was developed by Dr Dan Siegel in collaboration with David Rock and covers the seven daily essential mental activities necessary for optimum mental health: Focus Time, Playtime, Connecting Time, Physical Time, Time In, Downtime and Sleep Time.
It was a real eye-opener for me to uncover how little playtime, time in and downtime I was having. In turn, this deprived my brain of the opportunity to develop in different ways and strengthen its internal connections. More importantly, by pushing my brain into extensive focus time working, I might not have been operating most productively, and I deprived myself of the opportunity to connect with the people and the world around me.
The journey in creating a better world of work is an ongoing one. What does a better world of work mean to you and your organisation?