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Revamping Our Approach to Work

Revamping Our Approach to Work

As we approach the fourth year of the Covid era, both organizations and employees are experiencing an uneasy limbo. They have detached from past work practices, but are uncertain about how to progress effectively. There are still several unknown factors.

This is currently happening on a massive scale. The pandemic caused our established structures, practices, and processes to become unfrozen. Consequently, traditional methods of working were abandoned, and remote and hybrid work options were explored. As Covid restrictions eased, businesses began to determine which options were worth retaining.

In essence, most companies found themselves uncomfortably stuck in the transitional phase. They yearned for stability and clarity, similar to a refreeze, but were unable to achieve it yet.

Creating a hybrid work environment that fosters knowledge sharing and facilitates innovation demands a higher degree of purposefulness than what was perhaps missing in conventional colocated companies.

It is probable that we may need to wait for several years to gather adequate data that can offer meaningful answers to such queries. However, leaders cannot afford to remain passive and wait until everything is entirely understood. Instead, they must formulate a plan to steer through the lengthy period of ambiguity that awaits.

 

Photo from the wires

 

4 Essential Questions Every Executive Team Must Ask For the Transition

1. What are our core values and principles?

This inquiry is critical in strategic discussions, and it must be addressed before progressing to the other three. Ensure that all responses align with the values and principles that you have established. Ascential Futures' executive team is an excellent example of this. They identified creativity and innovation as their primary values during their transition, and they proceeded accordingly.

 

2. What distinguishes the individuals we hire, the roles we undertake, and the consumers we cater to?

This query delves into what sets your company apart. Consider it carefully. Ultimately, the choices you make regarding work redesign should do more than simply align with your values. They must support these distinct characteristics.

 

3. What are the areas that are not functioning, and what issues are we attempting to address?

This inquiry compels you to identify precisely what your company is grappling with so that you can envision work arrangements that are tailored to your requirements. The more specific you are in pinpointing your concerns and difficulties, the more effective it will be.

 

4. What experiments have we conducted that we can share with others, and what can we learn from other companies?

This query encourages leaders to consider collective learning, both internally and externally. Even before the pandemic, Accenture was testing out metaverse-related technologies such as virtual, augmented, and extended reality to develop immersive learning and collaboration programs for its personnel and clients.

The pandemic prompted its leaders to rethink how to onboard new employees (onboarding 150,000 Accenture workers in its metaverse in 2022), how to train them (e.g., by generating realistic simulations with fictional clients), and how to connect its workforce globally in ways that were unachievable in the physical world.

 

Final Thoughts

Leaders now understand that the pandemic will have a long-term impact on how we work, leading to a period of experimentation and learning. Early on, they discovered that hybrid work can improve engagement and agility but also realized its potential negative effects on networks and innovation.

Effective leadership teams are those that understand their company's DNA, are open to internal and external learning, and take a positive approach to experimenting with new work methods to tackle these challenges.