Want to know how companies are rewriting the future of work? (Part 2)

Leadership Memo 2022-2

In the previous post, “Want to know how companies are rewriting the future of work? (Part 1)”, I started sharing with you what some companies are doing, how they reimagine and experiment their way into new ways of working, that they reimagined the same three basic work practices that we looked at before: When (9-5), where (office), how (meetings). Let’s do a recap:

1. “When”

Some companies went beyond 9-5 and looked into the five days a week practice. The goal was to increase employee productivity and reduce burnout. They tried out four days a week instead. Bolt, a San Francisco-based e-commerce start-up, is one such company. The pilot was so successful that they adopted a permanent four-day workweek for its nearly 600 employees at the beginning of 2022.

2. “Where”

We discussed how not letting the team, but individuals, decide where work happens creates employee inequity. Now, let’s continue. Amazon and Salesforce are allowing their employees to decide as a team when and where they should work, based on the projects at hand.

Zoom unveiled its new work arrangement in January, giving employees the power to choose how they want to work. It allows its over 6,000 workers to choose whether to work in the office, work remotely, or go hybrid (working remotely a certain number of days per week or month at their choosing). And employees can alter their choices if they change their mind.

Slack, a workplace communications platform, is reimagining its office primarily as a gathering place for meetings and projects.

3. “How”

“Workplaces can alleviate some of the employee inequity issues by focusing on workplace practices that allow for the exchange of information without requiring people to attend meetings,” Professor Anita Woolley at Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, said. Thanks to various online tools and technologies that are available now, we can create spaces for collaboration and discussion, without exhausting employees with yet another video conference.

Last but not the least, look out for workplace inequity. I wrote an article last year, urging us to watch out for inequality and bias to remote workers in the hybrid office. I also mentioned last time that managers should not let face time play a role in evaluations, otherwise the workplace will be less equitable. In fact, companies should implement new training for managers to make sure the workplace is equitable, regardless of who returns to the office and who works remotely.

People want to be empowered and have autonomy to do work in a way that fits them. That’s going to be where talent is attracted. So, be creative, be flexible and experiment!

Latest happenings:

1. Happy Lunar New Year! On February 17, we are hosting a New Year Mixer out of the zoom world, where we get to mingle in a very fun environment. Using Liberating Structures, we’ll have fun and laughters while socially distanced. We are combining the best of in person experience with online advantages. Come join us and register here.

2. I’m honoured and delighted to be giving two talks in the upcoming Agile Nigeria Conference. As I always say, “the company is only as agile as the least agile department.” So part of the continuous improvement strategies is to learn how to achieve business agility, i.e. bringing agile mindset and principles to departments like HR and Finance. You don’t need to be an HR professional or a finance person to affect change. You just need to be a daredevil and know how to get in with a Trojan Horse! RSVP here.

3. “Our Agile Tales” podcast, episode 8 of Agile @ Tesla is out! We continue our discussion with Joe Justice, chatting about Elon Musk’s desire and drive to innovate quickly, resulting in tangible organizational agility at Tesla. We’re covering everything about agility. So far, we’ve discussed HR (episodes 1-2), Finance (episodes 3-4), Management (episode 5) and Planning & Measurement (episode 6). Continuing from last time, we focus on product development. Take a listen and let me know what you think.

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