The future of work will combine the home, the office, a remote or shared workspace and potentially other entirely new locations.
While the end result is ultimately unclear, what is clear is that most of us will never work the same way again.
In May, a Harvard Business Review study found that only 14% of organizational leaders across all industries believed their company was capable of supporting virtual work.
Today, more than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, that number is 42%.
Forward-thinking employers see the pros and cons; their people can reduce their commute times, work flexible schedules, and reduce the need for office space. However, things like continuity and collaboration become more challenging.
As restrictions lift (we hope), people will increasingly begin to transition to a hybrid model that combines the old “normal” with the new.
In this new normal, it’s important to find a balance between employer and employee needs. Managers who have open communication with employees will succeed in finding the new normal faster, according to Homaira Kabir.
In a recent article on The Upside, Kabir provides advice for managers and employees about setting boundaries and finding a balance.
Here’s a quick sample:
Be Open with Others: Kabir talks about our inherent fear of appearing unhelpful and therefore putting other people's priorities before our own. Kabir encourages people to “get clear on your ideal life.” For managers, the sooner your employees get clarity with themselves around how much they want to work, or not work, at home will help you begin an open dialogue. Once employees have outlined what their ideal situation is, you can work on setting boundaries and saying no to requests that don’t fit the job description.
Don’t Be Closed to Others: Kabir also writes about “takers"—employees or managers who expect others to do things for them with no desire to reciprocate. If you’ve got a taker in your office, she encourages managers to start with empathy. Everyone has been through a rough year, so when you start asking people to make changes, try to frame requests in a way that highlights how it will impact them positively, instead of focusing on how it will benefit you or the company.