Braving the Hybrid Workplace: When the Old is New Again
Lead Coach and Facilitator at Choose Leadership | Working with Purpose Driven Leaders and Organisations

With summer starting in Ireland last Monday (referring to the official date of 21 June rather than to  an onset of an extended period of warm weather), many people are turning their attention to staycations and renewal after prolonged lockdown restrictions and mandatory home working.

We expect that as restaurants and pubs reopen, a debate will also ensue about returning to physical workplaces. For some, the idea of “getting back to work” fills them with joy and possibility, while it fills others with a sense of dread at commuting or being “back at the desk”.

What does any of this have to do with summer? Well, on some level, we expect that our current work arrangements are likely to change to some form of a hybrid model of working in the autumn. It was a jarring, perhaps even a traumatic shift, when the ‘change’ to remote working happened so quickly in March 2020. We expect that many will soon experience a ‘transition’ from a state of remote working to a mix of remote and in person working.

William Bridges talks about the importance to recognizing loss during times of psychological transition. He refers to this as navigating Old Endings. This is the process of letting go of what is finishing and getting clear on what will not be changing. And this is often where our imagination and subconscious make stuff up.

To ease the transition from remote working to a hybrid model, and to minimize the likelihood of making stuff up that will not serve us, Esther Perel offers five questions:

  1. What do you want to go back to?
  2. What have you missed?
  3. What have you appreciated that you want to hold onto?
  4. What do you hope will not change, because you like what happened to you?
  5. What things do you want to do differently as you go back out again?

Ask the people you lead these questions. Get them thinking. Get curious. Some of the people you lead will assume that when they go back to the physical place they used to work, that they will also be going back to being managed the way they used to be managed. Use this time to consciously and intentionally bring positive change to how people will work together in the brave hybrid workplace that lies ahead.

By getting clear on what is important to the people, you empower them to co-create the conditions in which they can pro-actively shape how they work in the future. This enables you to contract with them and co-create a new relationship which serves them, you, the team and the organisation. It also allows you to build a more collaborative workplace based on the alignment of shared interests and purpose, rather than simply returning to the outdated, top down leadership of the past.

Contact us so we can support you to build new working relationships across your teams.

For leadership coaching and developement, get in touch

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