Why can’t employers and employees seem to agree on how, when, and where work will get done most effectively going forward?
The illustration below tells the story.
This conflict is often portrayed as a “power” battle between employer and employee. However, that would require a level of awareness about the position you are choosing to hold in opposition to another.
This is more of a gap in understanding caused by circumstances — i.e., “context”:
On one side of the clash are many leaders who still genuinely believe, even after three years of working very differently, that work and performance happen best in the traditional, place-based work model. There may be some degree of flexibility AROUND it, but the traditional “9-to-5, in the office, M-F” model remains the central organizing core. That’s their default context.
On the other side of the clash are employees who genuinely believe they can work effectively OUTSIDE of the traditional work model, even though the flexible way they worked for three years was crisis-driven and not executed with thoughtful, coordinated intention, perhaps causing priorities like talent development and culture to suffer. But that’s their default context.
Leaders and employees need to be willing to move beyond their respective contexts.
Leaders have to acknowledge we aren’t going “back,” BUT also employees have to recognize that their pandemic-driven flexibility likely needs to be optimized to meet the needs of the business AND people.
Co-create a NEW context.
Take the best of what we learned over the past three years.
Recapture the best of what the traditional, place-based work model had to offer.
Then, together, define and experiment with how high performance and well-being will happen working flexibly going forward, recognizing one-size-will-NOT-fit-all.
Is this clash of contexts playing out in your organization? Hit “REPLY” and share what you are seeing, because now that I’ve recognized it, I see it happening everywhere.
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