Put your workplace under the microscope
A lot has been written about the current business environment and, more particularly, how making any finite decisions can seem premature. That’s because we’ve always understood that better decisions come from the best available information. Maybe that’s why decision-makers find themselves in a holding pattern of sorts – they’re waiting on the best information. And while some of them are waiting, there is an opportunity that may go begging. Wait, it may not be what you’re thinking.
You need to look at things differently in order to see things differently and what better circumstances under which to look at things differently than when the whole world is having to do just that. The difference being that as a leader or lead decision-maker, you’ll find that the world has paused just long enough to gift you time to put your business under the microscope.
The silver lining to this confusing, commercial cloud is that we’re being forced to ask questions that just a few months ago, never would have been raised. Degrees of isolation plus social distancing and the resulting commercial fallout has forced us to literally step back and view everything through a fresh lens; one that prioritises long-term survival over instant gratification – and meaning over the moment.
So, what’s next?
It’s unlikely we’ll flick a switch and carry on as before, as if emerging from an un-paused freeze frame. Sitting down to a Monday morning staff meeting and discussing new business after a brief, cursory pep talk won’t cut it – nor should it. The further we travel down the road to ‘normality’, the more our lapsed status quo will require re-thinking, re-examination and… change.
Again, much has been written about what changes may be appropriate, recommended or indeed made mandatory which include:
- Ongoing social distancing
- Increased frequency of cleaning
- Decreased occupancy in the office to allow social distancing
These are the stock standard (but necessary) considerations many will quote when asked what their return to work plan looks like. But in an ideal world, decision makers will place their entire organisation —top to bottom, inside and out— under the microscope.
The question is not, what steps can we take to get back to exactly where we were at the dawn of the new decade, but what steps and in which direction should we be taking them? We have the rare opportunity, albeit via unpleasant events, to put aside cosmetic or minute concerns and gain a clear view of the bigger picture. Instead of asking how will work look upon our return, consider these 6 questions to start with:
- What do we want it to look like?
- What has COVID-19 revealed about what we all value?
- How can what we value inform our future decision-making?
- What role will the home office play in 2021?
- Will our behaviours and attitudes change, if so, how?
- What affect will those changes have on the workplace?
There’s no one way to approach any of this, but what’s important is that throughout this journey towards a return to work, we don’t walk into the same office asking the same questions as before. This new line of inquiry can’t be ignored because it cuts through the noise, the distraction, the fluff – and gets right to the heart of what matters. And now, perhaps more so than any moment in our lifetimes, is the time to give what will matter, a much, much closer.
Stay safe and look after yourselves.