Veronica Frisch is the executive vice president and head of Randstad Sourceright Canada.
Work-from-home arrangements may lead to less innovation and collaboration, according to recent research published in the Nature journal. While remote work can result in more hours spent on the job, researchers also found it led to less peer interaction.
As we enter into a new work landscape, one lesson that is clear is that flexibility and hybrid working arrangements are no longer a perk – employees and work candidates expect it. Randstad Sourceright’s 2022 Talent Trends report, which represents the views of more than 900 leaders in 18 markets, said 50 per cent of Canadians in these roles expect their permanent work force to operate remotely at least part of the time.
Rather than focusing on how to optimize a hybrid work force, a more useful conversation would centre around how companies can instill a sense of purpose that helps their employees transcend geographical boundaries. By fostering a culture that creates passion and common goals, and what some are calling “human magic,” organizations can drive performance through meaning, new ways of collaboration using technology and creative strategies.
As more companies embrace a permanent hybrid work force, they must reimagine the workplace to reinforce purpose and mission, and to limit burnout. Workspaces can be reconfigured to the new way of working such as Google’s Campfire concept, which encourages people to meet in hybrid environments with some team members on-site and others sitting in remote locations. Video technologies are extremely helpful in allowing people to feel connected to one another.
While social media platforms, chat functionality and video conferencing are useful to simulate the in-office experience, they can’t completely replace in-person contact. It’s about the options and the balance of technology and touch. It’s also about how you use technology to engage people. In a group call for example, it’s important to engage everyone and make sure their voice is heard. There are also apps such as MeMo (Meaningful Moments) that allow individuals to send feedback, give kudos or stay connected to their colleagues.
In addition to technology and scheduling accommodations, frequent and authentic communication is critical to motivating teams and inspiring creativity. When leaders ensure team members understand and believe in the company’s missions and goals, as well as how they individually contribute at a team level, they help them see the purpose of their work. In order to motivate your leaders, give them the opportunity to provide ideas, feedback and advise on best practices based on their own experiences. A weekly or bi-monthly leadership meeting helps to hold everyone accountable and motivates them to achieve organizational goals.
Promoting a diverse and inclusive work force can truly drive and inspire creativity. Being open to all voices and opinions allows everyone to help shape the world of work. Employees want to feel connected to an organization, and one way to achieve that is by making them feel like their voice is heard and valued. A lot of strength lies in the voices and unique perspectives of the many diverse workers in a company. Each comes with their own experiences, perceptions and outlooks to inspire purpose.
The new hybrid work force gives us a vehicle to embrace creativity, nuance and celebrate differences. It is a great opportunity for us all to tap into our creativity.
This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about the world of work. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab and guidelines for how to contribute to the column here.
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