Reflections inspired by the Financial Review and Microsoft’s ‘Rethinking Work’ dialogue

I thoroughly enjoyed investing some time over the weekend to listen to Microsoft’s latest Reshaping Australia ‘Rethinking Work’ dialogue. In this session, some high profile Australian leaders discuss what’s next for working Australians and businesses from every angle. My take outs were:

  • There’s no one-WFH-size-fits-all approach for people, tasks or businesses. Instead, we need to grow our comfort and capabilities around workplace agility.
  • This will partly come down to technology; the rest will come down to organisational culture and leadership.
  • We need to upskill our employees and leaders to work and lead remotely. It was such a rapid transition that many still feel they do not have the skills they urgently need.
  • This new, flexible workplace gives us access to a global pool of talent that we can engage in non-traditional ways. It also gives us global business opportunities and a ‘virtual corridor’ to communicate and collaborate very efficiently across different time zones.
  • The idea of changing from an ‘input’ to an ‘outcome’ working model will be radical for many, but employees have more than proven they can be trusted to deliver.
  • But without the clear divide between work and home, they need help to find that all-important balance – protecting their health and getting in vital ‘downtime’ to recharge.

I particularly enjoyed thinking about what this blended WFH-office-model might look like in the future and the fact that this pandemic is likely to be the single most significant event to occur in our lifetime. It will reshape not only the way we work, but also what work looks like for future generations. This is an important responsibility, with no right or wrong answer, but requires an openness to exploring and creating a type of structure that can more easily cope with uncertainty and rapid change.

From a personal perspective, I’ve been working at home for nearly 20 years – it was really the reason I set up my own business in the first place. Freedom and flexibility around where and how I work is really important to me, but I understand that many people feel just as passionately about needing to be in the office.

If you would like to chat about where your business is at with WFH and how you could further enhance your employee engagement, don’t hesitate to get in touch.