Ensuring hybrid work is productive work
MIT Sloan Management Review
Every organisation will have to brainstorm how to heighten energy, focus, coordination, and cooperation to make hybrid work productive. This article, using real world examples, concludes that leaders need to keep four recommendations in mind:
- Don’t move too fast. Individual preferences will take time to become clear. Be wary of making early decisions that will have long-term effects.
- Keep the trade-offs in mind. In designing new ways of working, be prepared for the downsides of each model. Working from home will boost energy, but it will also deplete cooperation.
- Resolve to experiment. There is a great deal we do not yet know. It is crucial to be prepared to take risks.
- Nurture leadership skills. The variety of combinations of time and place that are possible will require highly competent and motivated leaders.
Small steps to enable equal opportunities within organisations
Harvard Business Review
These small steps can improve the work environment for all employees:
- In the meetings you manage and attend, pay attention to different communication styles. Make sure everyone has the opportunity to speak and nobody is regularly interrupted.
- Give credit where credit is due. Identify and acknowledge where ideas originate.
- Find out what flexible work options exist within your organisation and try one out as a way of demonstrating your support.
- Shift regular meetings to begin after 9 AM and end before 5 PM. This will prevent individuals with child or elder care responsibilities from having to make special arrangements to participate.
- Don’t make assumptions about what challenges or roles employees might be willing to undertake. Ask them - and then actively support their choices.
- Become a mentor for a high-performing woman (or help her find one who’s a good fit). Mentors (both male and female) play a key role in encouraging and empowering women to advance in their careers.
- Recruit at least one male colleague to join the initiative with you. Research has shown that when men get involved in diversity initiatives, the company makes greater progress toward gender parity.
Three ways leaders can adapt to changing work lives
World Economic Forum
When the pandemic first struck, it fuelled our efforts to unify and overcome a crisis of unknown proportions. The sprint is turning into a marathon. As a result, organisations that continue to encourage false hopes that they will get back to 'normal' now find they have tired teams on their hands, tumbling employee engagement scores, and a general lack of faith in timeframes.
- Firms must not raise employee expectations of 'getting back to normal'.
- Instead, companies must confront reality, build resilience, and seek new opportunities.
- There are advantages to organisations embracing ambiguity as a constant.
Leaders should take stock and set limits to preserve their own sustainable performance. Managers should ask themselves where they are on the Yerkes-Dodson Curve (see below) and how they can avoid drifting into becoming “distracted” or even worse, shutting down altogether. Resilience is not a trait. It can be learned so long as people feel safe exercising their ultimate freedom – how they choose to respond to pressure.