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  • Writer's pictureEdwin and George

21 Questions for 2021

(Andy Grove ex – CEO Intel)

In our blogs we’ve written a lot about what’s wrong with work – bureaucracy, drudgery, micro-management, control, the lack of trust. (See for example, ‘Is Your Company Bureaucratic ? – A Short Test

But, we’re optimists – we know there’s something new and better happening. Things are changing – and changing fast.

‘When organisations are built not on implicit mechanisms of fear but on structures and practices that breed trust and responsibility,

extraordinary and unexpected things start to happen.’

(Frederic Laloux: ‘Reinventing Organisations’, Diateino, 2014)

The pandemic has resulted in the largest work experiment in modern history. A new world of work has dawned. The balance between the company and the worker is shifting. Driven by necessity rather than choice, the future of work is accelerating. Organisations now have a license to test and experiment with new ways of working, selecting which lessons to embed into their new realities. We are being propelled into the future of work.

(Deloitte Australia: ‘Re-architecting Work Models’ November 2020).

Amidst this devastating health crisis, workers see a glimpse of something more. The world of nine to five, sitting at desk passing decisions up the chain feels antiquated and uncomfortable.

The ten second commute and the realisation that not all meetings need to be as long or as large as they used to be. The future of work is about people deciding how to live and work in the way they want. It’s time to say farewell to the constraints of the office and office culture.

Working from home – sharing important moments with family, eating meals together and witnessing day-today life. More sophisticated work arrangements: job sharing, compressed working weeks, flexible schedules and remote work. Arrangements that emphasise trust and empowerment.

Workers - propelled into cross-functional teams to solve problems and keep their companies afloat. Empowered to make rapid decisions and react with authority to changes in the market and service delivery models. Digital transformations, previously taking years to complete, occurring in months. New products, delivery methods and customer experiences, designed and implemented in days and weeks.

The evidence for change in Australia is compelling:

  • 77% of workers want more flexibility in how and where they work

  • 74% of CEOs will move a portion of their workforce to permanently remote positions

  • 65% of workers believe their productivity has increased since working remotely

  • 65% of organisations view shifting functional hierarchies to team centric and network-based work models as important or very important

  • 60% of organisations are likely to use artificial intelligence to assist workers in the near-term future (Deloitte Australia: ‘Re-architecting Work Models’ November 2020).

Yes, we’re optimists:

2021 will be the year when change at work accelerates. The drive for workers to decide where to work, how work is done, how they’re treated and developed is higher now than any other time in labour market history. We will all be better off as a result.

Here are our 21 questions for you and your company for 2021:

Where Work Takes Place

  1. How will you bring more work to the people, instead of the people to work?

  2. What will be the purpose of your office in the future – how will it be utilised?

  3. Where work takes place in an office – how will you develop a vibrant destination to attract and excite your people and customers?

  4. How will you ensure people have up-to-date technology and equipment to drive a hybrid working model?

How Work is Done

  1. How will you slash bureaucracy by eliminating self-imposed and internally focused processes and rules?

  2. How will you recompose work to automate the dull and routine activities and elevate the uniquely human elements?

  3. How will you reduce hierarchy, pushing decision making down the company structure?

  4. How will you promote a more agile approach to projects: cross functional and empowered teams; encouraging collaboration and innovation?

How People are Treated

  1. How will you provide greater autonomy, choice and flexibility to allow your people to personalise their work experience according to the flow of their lives?

  2. How will you manage hybrid work practices to create an inclusive culture and sense of community?

  3. How will you spot the signs that someone is struggling and needs human support in a remote working environment?

  4. How will you manage well-being in the new world of work?

  5. How will you ensure people take time to disconnect from work and are not ‘on call’ 24-7?

  6. How will you retire antiquated HR and people practices?

  7. How will you implement a management regime that is more people focused?

How People are Developed and Engaged

  1. How will you develop your ‘talent ecosystem’ to make sure it is fit for purpose: attracting, developing and managing people?

  2. How will you maximise the full diversity of your team – recognising the uniqueness of each individual and what they bring to the company?

  3. How will you develop a ‘learning culture?’

  4. How will you move from a one size fits all staff development approach to a one size fits one approach?

How the Community is Supported

  1. How will you help your local community - to recover from this time of crisis?

What Will Your Company Look Like?

  1. What will a re-architected work model look like for your company?

Change is happening. In a world where only 14% of people are fully engaged at work, it is desperately needed.

At last, we see light at the end of the tunnel.

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