We find ourselves at a crossroads, sooner than expected. The challenges of 2020 have accelerated the agenda on workplace change and we now have two choices – pull back and try to get things to how they were, or embrace the challenges to evolve a new version of our organisations, workplaces and work itself.
Starting with Impact
Each option has an impact on people and maybe, before we start analysing real estate costs, assessing HR documents and sounding the death knell for the office, we should stand back and look at why we are here at all. That’s the essence of The Human Workplace and despite talk of virtual setups and remote work, Zoom, Teams and Slack, the fundamental principle is that these things all only exist to enable our people to work more effectively.
Let’s start from the start and frame our thinking. What does your business exist to do? If you can’t answer that you’re in trouble! That collective aim creates the central focus for your organisation, which itself is merely a structure that exists to deliver the aims of the business. It’s a platform to enable people (employees, customers, suppliers and anyone congregated around that business) to thrive.
When people thrive, organisations thrive too. It’s simple!
Platforms for People to Thrive
If our customers are given the optimal platform to engage, purchase, interact and consume, they will do that at the best possible level. Equally, if our own people (employees) are given the optimal platform to do their best work individually and collectively at any given moment in time, they will do that. Of course, there are levels of complexity in building that platform, but stripped back, our organisations have the sole purpose of enabling the right people, in the right places, to do the right things.
There is no type of workplace, business, or organisation that remains uncovered by that thinking and there are plenty of strategic considerations to pursue, but as we move into this brave new world of work, we’ve moved from a position of innovation as a luxury, to innovation as a necessity. How we each deal with that will shape our success or failure over the coming years, but we need to take decisions fast. The pace of change is only going to increase and the only guarantee we all have going forward is the fact that things will continue to change.
Adopting and Adapting
Adopting that mindset requires a huge strategic leap, that in itself requires the breaking down of internal barriers. Silos need to be torn down, because if the way we work changes, HR, Facilities, Operations, IT, Procurement and Finance will be needed to make a success of the shift. It’s an ongoing conversation and there’s so much more to do. The most exciting and terrifying thing for most organisations is that right now, that conversation needs to start. Can you start it, enable your people and create a successful future in the fast-paced future, or are you going to resist and aim to get ‘back to normal’ as soon as possible? Think carefully, because much rests on it!
Making Your Choice
Regardless of automation, AI, remote working or anything else, one thing is clear – your success in the foreseeable future rests on enabling humans. Step back and get the bigger picture. Can you make things simpler, can you make work better, can you deliver a platform for your humans?
Over to you!
About the author
As Founder/CEO of My Amazing Team, Andy Swann works around the world on unique, innovative and impactful innovation projects for some of the planet’s largest organizations and biggest brands. Known as an expert on the connection between people, organizations and action, Andy’s book The Human Workplace has been described as essential reading for all leaders. Its core message of people-first organisational success has gained attention across the media. Andy uses the book as the blueprint for growing My Amazing Team; truly practicing what he preaches.
A regular media contributor, Andy is often interviewed on television, radio and podcasts, sharing his views with an outspoken, energetic and relaxed style. He has been featured on the BBC, NBC, ABC, Fox and many others. He also hosts The LifeWork Podcast and recently launched the weekly Give Out But Don’t Give Up live show on YouTube.
Andy splits his time between Atlanta, GA and the UK (currently in isolation in Bournemouth!) and is always working on new projects. When not playing with ideas, he is dedicated to his four children and occasionally finds the time to play drums as loudly as possible.