THE NEW WORKING NORM – WHAT IS IT???!!!
It has to be said that the sense of optimism across all Australian markets as 2021 kicked of seemed incredible optimism. The insanity of the housing market is impossible to ignore, with the news dominated by record sale prices. Again the share market continues to grow and again I was one of those who choose to ignore all the “pub” advice of buying up in the middle of COVID!!
Furthermore recent data suggests that there are record job opportunities and on the whole the overall economic outlook for 2021 seems positive. It will be interesting to see how these macro trends play out in the “real world” as we move forward. For what its worth, on a personal level, it would appear to me that while the overall sentiment is positive. There still does seem to a sense of caution when it comes to pushing the button for senior searches.
However despite all this the major theme that comes up every time in a client meeting is – what is your working from home or office strategy? What are you doing? What is everyone else doing? What should we do? It seems to me that a lot of people seem to be focusing on this question above and beyond anything else.
For many, working from home has at times been a welcome change, with increased flexibility allowing a healthy work-life balance to be found. However, those working remotely also often resent the multiple video chats where frozen screens and delays can make communication stunted and strained. Businesses need to find a middle ground where team members have the best of both worlds, at a safe distance. And yet the office is not entirely going away. In fact, it might be more needed than ever as companies pivot to new realities and forge bonds among a workforce that, in very few cases, looks identical to the so-called before times.
Therefore the reality is that we are seeing a form of hybrid model emerge. While at-home work has its perks, the physical office will remain crucial to business success. In addition to being a natural environment for focused work, the office is also a social hub in which company culture grows and thrives. Face-to-face interaction can’t be replaced by video conferencing. In-person collaboration is often where innovation happens, and of course, where meaningful relationships develop.
I do acknowledge that we can only comment on our immediate “lens” and what we experience. Whilst we do partner with a number of Australian and Global organisations, we don’t have access to huge amounts of data – and wouldn’t claim too! That said these seem the above hybrid model seems to be new landscape and something we too have adopted. It has become evident that individuals who can thrive in an office can thrive at home to. Our new model is quite simply a 4-day working week with a commitment to be in the office 3 of those 4-days. Whilst early days it seems to working and hopefully can ride the wave of 2021’s optimism