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Change Culture Leadership Mindset

Let’s talk about work a little (more)

Work from home is a case-by-case conversation. So, team leads, step up and take your ownership. You know what you want and need, and you know what your people want and need.

Or let’s debate about work a lot (less).

Wow. 

If you’re a curious person like I am and interested in the future of work, these are FANTASTIC times.

They’re so so so good that it’s worth adding them to my portfolio of services. I’m just unsure how to call the service and what the tagline would be.

I just know that everyone has an opinion, everyone is using data to their advantage to support their perspective, and it seems like nobody is really getting it right.

What’s the issue?

From a CEO’s perspective (or at least many CEOs), it’s getting people back to the office. 

From an employee perspective, it’s optimizing the way I do my work.

Both groups are biased. And that’s where the problem starts.

Let’s first look at the root cause of the debate.

It’s simple. People’s habits have changed.

The pandemic has caused people to realize that work can be done differently. We were confined to our homes for months, and we learned that work still got done.

We learned how to be effective online. We were happy that we could skip traffic to and from the office. We exercised more, walked more, cooked more, and had more conversations with our family and friends. We learned to use the time ‘lost’ to commute effectively for things we were passionate about.

I know not everyone has had similar experiences.

We also learned that we missed being part of an ‘in person’ community, working collaboratively in one room, or meeting with our colleagues abroad.

It’s not a coincidence that planes and hotels are full again, event catering is booming again, and people are thrilled to go to offsite meetings again with their teams.

This whole ‘work from home’ issue is about striking a balance. 

It’s about having a conversation that acknowledges the needs of both employers and employees.

It’s about understanding what has changed, what will be permanent going forward, which habits will stay, and which habits need to be unlearned.

It’s about understanding that specific jobs can easily be done from home without much supervision or collaboration, while other jobs need the physical space to be effective.

You can create accounting records sitting behind a laptop at home.

You can’t collectively brainstorm, feed off each other, innovate, and create sitting behind a laptop.

Therefore, it’s about listening first.

Or, to pull an old Stephen Covey habit out of the hat:

“First, seek to understand before you want to be understood.”

Stephen Covey

Unfortunately, positions in many cases have been taken. 

And in many cases, managers shy away from the conversation. Like they find it hard to give feedback on performance, they also find it hard to engage in a hybrid work conversation with their people.

Because they suck at having hard conversations.

So they hide behind the policy HR prepared or the CEO’s position.

Yes, there needs to be a framework, and yes, it’s good to know the CEO’s vision.

But most of all, and because each team lead knows their people best, this is a matter of understanding jobs and people’s needs.

And those are almost always different.

There’s no ‘one size fits all.

It’s a case-by-case conversation. So, team leads, step up and take your ownership. You know what you want and need, and you know what your people want and need.

You’re the one to guide your people.

Be a leader!

Your turn: YES, your turn! Be a leader!

Do more of what makes you happy!

Erikjan

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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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