I always choose simplicity over complexity.
It’s not that simplicity is the easiest route, or the path with the least resistance.
Actually, it’s the opposite. When you’re working in ever-changing, ever-growing environments, it can be a challenge to simplify.
Whether that’s simplifying processes, structures, or even our own thoughts around a certain topic.
I believe there are certain topics that naturally bring an increased level of complexity.
One of those topics is The Future of Work.
When I speak to other experts in the field of The Future of Work, it can leave a sense of heaviness.
Often the more educated we are on something, the more challenging it can be to actually explain to people outside of our realm how to break it down into layman terms.
I’ve listened to countless experts, who are incredibly knowledgeable in their fields, but end up feeling frustrated at the lack of tangible takeaways for the audience.
This week, we hosted a Clubhouse Conversation for our Remote Leaders Club. (Join us if you’re on Clubhouse).
The topic was The Future of Work and I was determined to keep the conversation easy to digest and to give the audience very clear insights, with opportunities for next steps.
Most of the audience are small-medium sized businesses that are still operating in an element of scrappiness- they don’t have the budgets, time or cognitive capacity to learn frameworks and complex systems.
They needed trusted advice that wouldn’t break the bank, but that would help them feel confident that they are preparing their teams and organizations for the future of work.
So here are a couple of takeaways that came from that discussion.
1. Your team’s data is everything
Sure, look at the research out there that shows us how many workers want to continue working remotely after the restrictions ease. But the most important data you have is your own team’s data. Commit to a regular data pull that will help you assess the needs of your team. From this, you’ll be able to identify two major things that will help you prepare for the future:
Your team’s wishes on how they want to work moving forward
Your team’s current challenges with remote working and where you as an organization need to improve.
2. If you’re working on improving your team’s ability to work remotely NOW, you’re preparing for the future
It’s interesting that in life we’re told to focus on the present moment, but in business, if we’re not looking ahead, we’re limiting our growth opportunities. It can be challenging to find that balance. The data pull in step 1 will help you create a very clear and realistic plan for improvements around your remote team’s process. For example, if your team are currently experiencing high levels of stress, burnout and are continuously overworking- that’s an area you can empower your team to solve right now, that will ultimately help your team in the future.
3. Even if you’re considering a hybrid environment, you’ll still require remote first processes
Instead of thinking about just ‘remote work’ consider flexible working. The future will require flexibility, and to what extent will vary depending on a number of variables. Regardless, flexibility still requires remote first processes. For example, your team are still going to be communicating heavily in Slack/Teams/Email, even if some of them work from the office a couple of days a week- this informs you that working on improving written communication asynchronously will be an investment for the future.
4. If you and your team are adapting, if you’re curious about how you can continually be 1% better every day as a team, then you are preparing your organizational mindset and resilience for future change
The teams that I’ve seen truly thrive over the past 13 months have been the teams that have been curious. They don’t know all the answers, I don’t think any of us do, BUT they have been willing to adapt together because they know the importance of it. This is adaptability intelligence at it’s finest. Those who embrace change, even though it’s not always easy, are the teams that do well long-term. The same applies to the future of work.
One way you can start to introduce more of this to your team is to involve them. Listen to them. Ask them for their ideas. ‘How do you guys think we can improve our written communication as a team?’ ‘Where in our processes could we focus on first?’ Host a team conversation and do this work together as a team. When we involve our team, it becomes a shared responsibility.
Comment and let me know, what out of these 4 points are you and your team going to work on first to prepare for the future of work?