The difficulty now is we find different markets going back to work in locations like Taiwan and Korea and all of a sudden, if you're not set up right with the tech, you end up on a video call looking at a whole bunch of people you can't see very well. And here you are back in your own room, once again finding it difficult to connect and contribute.
That's where the messy middle hits us. We've been working really hard on technology, but also on implementing some simple best practice tips which are making a huge difference. For instance, if you’re joining a Teams call from a meeting room with a few people together, join the meeting using your own device with the sound and mic off, and your video on. That way, people can see you clearly and hear you via the in-room audio.
Kathryn: I agree, one of the trickiest things to navigate is big team meetings where part of the team are in-person and part of the team are online.
Something we've experimented that’s worked quite well is the concept of having an advocate in the room. Often, if you're the person at home, you feel like you're whinging if you're constantly saying, ‘hey, I can’t hear you!’ But to have somebody in the room checking in constantly and making sure those that aren't in the room can hear is much more inclusive. It's been a powerful tool for us.
And I do think once we get through the messy middle, it will be a really positive outcome and leave us in better shape than we were coming into this pandemic.
Gerard: So if you do have four or five people in the room, how do they raise their hand? Because what I have noticed already is when there are groups in a room we've quickly established the protocol of raising your hand virtually in Teams, then suddenly when you're in a room, with people who don't have a device in front of them, they don't raise their hands and they just jump in and ask the question. We have to then stop and remind them we have a protocol. All these new norms are fragile, they are just building and we need to constantly reinforce them.
How we work is in our culture
Jared: It really is about cultural reprogramming. What we're going through right now is l this once in a generation experience where every organisation has been handed this golden opportunity.
I think of this as a huge opportunity. What we were seeing in workplaces before the pandemic is that technological advances had outpaced culture. We’ve had the technology to work remotely for decades but our culture was still back in the 70s or 60s maybe, in terms of how we worked almost exclusively in the office. Right now, we're in this moment, when we're trying to bring that together, this is an opportunity for leadership. When we pop out at the end of this, life should be better for all of us. We should all get to do the things that we want to. With more flexibility than we've had in the past. And as you say, it's the little norms that are going to make all the difference and we need to establish these as we go.
Gerard: Kathryn, what are you are hopeful and optimistic about as a result of this change in the way we're working and what are some of the big areas that you're going to be really looking at to make sure we continue to make progress on?
Kathryn: I believe that if we stay intentional and thoughtful about this, we really do have an opportunity to come out the other side with so many positive changes. We're coming at it with a much higher degree of empathy than I think we've ever had before and a much higher awareness of things like wellbeing and the way we support each other.
I think our leaders play an incredibly important role through all of this to create a strong learning culture. We said right back at the beginning of the pandemic that one of our core beliefs was that we need to stay flexible and continue adapting and learning as we go.
So, that means helping our leaders to create a culture where it's OK to give things that go and to speak up if things aren’t working. I’m optimistic we’ll discover and share many more of those new norms along the way.
The future will be data-driven
Gerard: Jared I'd be interested in your perspective on the positive role you think analytics are going to play both at a personal level and at the workplace level as part of that future?
Jared: I wanted to share a little bit about the talent market, because this is one of the big surprises we’ve found in the data which I think is really important for leaders to understand. The data clearly indicates the pandemic has had as big an impact in how people think as other major world events like the world wars back in the 20th century.
What we're finding is people are rethinking the key decisions in their lives. So essentially, where they live, what they do for a living and other decisions related to family and friends, in ways I wouldn't have predicted. For instance, almost 50 per cent of people surveyed, and this was a broad swath of people across 31 countries, say they are seriously considering a physical move because they can now work remotely or work more remotely in some cases.
When we drill into the data, for some that just simply indicates they're going to move another 30 minutes away from the city where they work because they can get a cheaper house or they feel like it'll be closer to something that they care about. In other cases, they're planning to actually move across the country or to a different country.
And 41 per cent said they were seriously considering leaving their employer within the next 12 months. That's a huge shift and we have not seen an upheaval like that for decades. I think it's really important to understand that the talent landscape has changed in major ways. And I don't think most leaders are prepared. I have not been prepared for that.