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Member Article

Hybrid working can only succeed if workers and leaders are on the same page

A recent survey conducted for the BBC revealed over 70% of respondents do not believe that workers will return to the office full-time. Interestingly, the same survey also showed that over half of senior leaders felt that workers staying at home would adversely affect both creativity and collaboration.

There is no denying that hybrid working is here to stay, but what is particularly interesting about the survey’s findings is this disconnect between the views of workers and those of senior leaders.

“There have already been many concerns expressed over the difficulties in effectively implementing hybrid working arrangements, with suggestions that remote workers will be less likely to gain promotions and that certain demographics of workers will be disproportionately affected. Much like the shallow ‘bolt-on’ CSR initiatives and purpose promises of recent years, trying to bolt-on hybrid working as something of an afterthought simply won’t cut it,” explains Neil Gaught, a strategy consultant, author and founder of Single Organizing Idea.

“Such examples of disconnect are why so many businesses are not fit for the future. They are being tied in knots by trying to make money whilst at the same time, managing parts of the business which are intent on pursuing a separate strategy, leading to all sorts of spectacular failures. If not handled correctly, implementing hybrid working is likely to be a bumpy ride that simply tightens the knot even further.”

Hybrid working is seen by many as a double-edged sword, with an equal share of positive and negative outcomes, depending on how it is managed. What we absolutely do not need right now is more complexity, more division, more misalignment, and more inequality inside businesses.. What we do need, however, is for business leaders to grasp the opportunity and unite their people around a Single Organizing Idea (SOI) that actually means something

For far too long that single idea has been the pursuit of growth and the meeting of financial targets. This kind of thinking is no longer fit for purpose. If COVID has served any positive purpose at all, it has accelerated the realisation and given voice to millions of people worldwide who sense that they are not alone in their need to ensure their future working lives is as much about them, their wellness and their fulfillment as it is about the company they work for meeting the demands of customers and investors.

The businesses that will thrive in the future are the ones that understand sustainability is not restricted to just doing some ad-hoc CSR on the side and talking in platitudes about the importance of ‘purpose’. The best ideas today are sustainable ones. Positive, sustainable ideas that not only benefit the planet, our communities and the bottom-line but also the very people who work hard to make these ideas possible.

This is exactly why an SOI is so powerful. It ties both the economic and social strategies into one single strategy, the outcome of which is not only commercially sustainable but also meaningful for those wishing to find fulfiment in what the business does. It’s not about ticking a box or having a cheesy ‘doing well by doing good’ style purpose statement. It’s the means to get on and do it. “

What’s clear is that those that listen to their workers, adapt and grasp the opportunity to reset how they organise their enterprises will be the ones that succeed. Those that cover their ears and hang on to the status quo are, unfortunately, destined to fail.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by AmbitionPR .

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