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Is the ‘working from home’ debate doing your head in?

Updated: May 13, 2021

When it comes to Covid-19, in Australia we’re in a fortunate position. It's a situation that I don't take for granted. It means that we’re able to enjoy increasing post-lockdown freedoms, which includes the opportunity for people to return to the workplace.

As part of this, many employers and employees are finding themselves facing a number of curly questions. For example:

  • What’s our new way of working?

  • What should our mix of at home and in office work look like?

  • How do I re-build and re-connect my team after 12 months apart?

  • How do I deal with the drop in engagement that ‘transactional style’ online interactions have caused?

  • How do I ensure my team has the productivity and focus we need to get important jobs done?

These are classic curly conundrums, in that they are critical questions for which the answer is not straightforward. There are many opinions and no immediately obvious ways to make a decision as to the ‘right answer’. As one leader described it “the ways of working debate feels like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle. It’s hurting my head and quite frankly, I’m sick of talking about it”.

There are three ways to make this conversation exponentially easier.

1. Change the question - Instead of asking a solution-driven question like "What mix of home and office working should we adopt?", start with a needs-driven question instead. For example, ask questions like "How does the way we work impact our ability to achieve our purpose and deliver results?"

2. Don’t develop a policy, have a curly conversation - Because there are so many strong opinions on this topic, it’s tempting to see this conversation as difficult and therefore avoid it. In other words, develop a ‘policy’ and then attempt to 'sell' it. In my experience, using a policy under these circumstances drives more resistance and more debate than before. The alternative is to have a Curly Conversation with the people who will be using the ways of working. Structure the conversation in a way that gets the key issues out for all to see. Then, everyone can stand back and address them holistically.

3. Use a different lens - The working from home debate is not really about working from home. It’s not even about ways of working. It’s about having a team that delivers incredible value to its customers (or stakeholders) by having people who love coming to work everyday.

  • What would that team look like?

  • What critical elements would make it successful?

  • What ways of working would support and inhibit that?

Curly conversations are different, not difficult. When we think of them this way, life gets a whole lot easier.

Is now a good time for us to talk?

Collective clarity is the key to success and it starts with you. Sometimes all you need is the right conversation to get your thinking in the right direction.

If you'd like to talk about your challenge and have a new perspective on how to address it, why not book a complimentary 30-minute clarity conversation with me?

Click here to find a time that works.


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