The Long Game
We're seeing companies settle into a natural cadence of working this October. For some the way of working has been discussed, formalized, tweaked and embedded - an intentional strategy that aligns to client, company, team and individual needs giving exceptional results.
They just getting on with doing work, pushing ahead of their less well organized competitors.
For many though, they're not there yet; a natural cadence may have arrived, but it's one the c-suite is unsure about and the employees still feel the "sword of Damocles" is hovering above, ready to strike back at their flexibility with some kind of mandate.
Employees aren't ready to relinquish all of the pandemics gains of trust and flexibility in location and timing of work, yet the aging CEO's want it back to the way it was, or nearly.
Tell a CEO that AI is sweeping through industry and they gleefully commence a strategy to engage and adopt. Tell the same CEO that new ways of working have swept through industry and they reject, wanting to return to the past.
There are of course ways to broker the deal between employees and the CEO (just ask our team how) but its needs to be an intentional action, where the solution is reached through deep engagement resulting in a co-created outcome.
Embedding the sustainable change will inevitably mean reconfiguring of office spaces, technology tweaks, and the creation of Team Agreements - all essential to success.
The change is here to stay. Sure, some companies will mandate X days in the office (these are likely to be the older companies, with set traditions and a C-suite with pre-pandemic habits they struggle to revise - see data slides below) but on the whole 'hybrid/flexible' ways of working will prevail for many others.
People will settle with those employers that provide a workplace experience that they are comfortable with, and that's fine - the spectrum of work is vast, from fully in-office to fully remote, and every possible connotation in between. Each will find somewhere on that spectrum that is comfortable.
For more up to data as at October 2023 on Return to Office and Work From Home, take a look at the attached slide deck.