Is your workplace fixed or flexible?

I was speaking with a leader who commented about how difficult it was to retain and attract good staff.  When I asked him what their approach was to flexible work policy, he hesitated and mentioned, ‘We have not yet decided what our approach will be, but some of the executives are pushing to have everyone come back into the office.’

When I hear this, I get very nervous.  Many leaders have not developed their strategy for how to transition to a hybrid workplace that will get the best out of their people and offer the flexibility that people are looking for.  It’s not an easy task!

Although Apple is one of the most admired companies in the world, they are still working out how to make this transition.  In June last year, CEO Tim Cook announced Apple staff would work in the office for three days a week (Monday, Tuesday & Thursday).  The reaction?  Staff were pissed off!  Many employees pushed back strongly against this fixed model and wrote an internal letter demanding a more flexible policy (which of course was leaked to the media!)

There are 2 approaches that can be taken in how you determine your workplace transition moving forward:  Fixed or Flexible.

The Fixed Model.   This is when a group of Senior Executives and HR meet and determine what days staff will work in the office and what days they will work remotely (if any).  It usually is done to try to find a way to minimise disruption and simplify the approach.  Unfortunately this will only work if there are very high levels of trust and strong communication, otherwise it can come across as dictatorial and old school.

The Flexible Model.  The flexible model allows staff to have much more influence in the way they work.  This usually involves the Departmental Leaders working with their teams to identify the best days to work in the office as well as work processes used to meet these requirements.  A big advantage of the flexible approach is that staff have been involved in the decision-making process and feel appreciated and listened to.

So what approach are you taking in your organisation?  What would get the best engagement from your people and help to keep and attract the best talent?

If you would like to gather some insights from the research of my next book and can’t wait for it, click here and we will find a time for me to share a few strategies with you that can assist you in making the successful transition to a hybrid workplace.

If you would like to see some amazing women (& men) speakers at the Future of Leadership and support Hands Across the Water, please click here to find out more and join us at one of the events across Australia occurring in May.  I will be speaking in Adelaide and Perth so it will be great to see some of my clients and friends that I have missed during the lockdowns.  Use the Promo code GETINEARLY to receive 10% off.