The workplace: May/June 2021

Remembering what working life was like pre-Covid. 

What we had, why being in the office felt good, why we felt connected to the company we worked for and why our colleagues became friends.

What made us love coming to the office? Many, many things.

Innovation, competition, camaraderie… yes, definitely, but this was wrapped up under the togetherness of identity and team culture. Which is what we should all be searching to recreate as we unlock our front doors and venture back to the office desk once again.

The power of agile working… your choice of when and where you work, benefiting from the trust of your boss and the company you work for. Most who can will choose a combination of working from home and at the office.

The approaches taken to preserve and evolve the employee experience is what will preserve company culture. For modern progressive businesses, this is an emphasis on the physical and mental wellbeing of their people, bringing that approach not just to the office but also to the home.

Agile-first cultures… those who get it right will give freedom to their people but also create an environment that draws people back into the office for that side-by-side connection with their friends and colleagues.

The art… is for businesses to show that heading to the office (with a multitude of benefits) offers a perfect balance for the perfect working experience.

Move the wellbeing programme to the doorstep of your people – it is no longer the role of the senior management team”

How do you have more touch points to create togetherness, in and out of the office? Scrapping long Teams or Zoom meetings in favour of shorter, more productive calls, having your weekly team meeting or 1-2-1s back in the office, end-of-month presentations all together; maybe a permanent fixture to the office environment is an ever-lasting wellbeing programme.

Lunchtime football, the office masseuse, the beauty therapist or barber, the run club, the book club, office art lessons, meditation, language lessons, yoga classes. Move the wellbeing programme to the doorstep of your people – it is no longer the role of the senior management team. Involve your people, what they want – they get!

A fun place to work must have social gatherings. They are not replaced remotely.

‘Vision’… for many, an old-fashioned, over-used term. Yet people will need to understand this so that they can connect with why it is important to their success, and to that of their companies.

With success, you have identity and pride – with pride for who you work for, you have culture.

There cannot be any doubt that conventional office culture will not be the same. The traditional working environment that many organisations were stuck in has been crushed – and for the better.

What do we all want?

To be trusted, to be given the freedom to work where and when we want with the knowledge that we are being looked after. There is absolute certainty that the way organisations look after their people will become one of the most important strategic objectives of any organisation.

That is allowing full agility but encouraging presence in the office to enable mentorship and allow the casual, unplanned important conversations that benefit all. Those can never be replaced. 

Guy Hayward – redefining the modern workplace CEO, Goodman Masson

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