In my book, LeaderX, I wrote about my prediction for the decade ahead. Little did I know that everything would be fast forwarded, tested and challenged in the very first year. I knew change was coming. I wanted to start a movement of change. I wanted to inspire a generation to step up, take control and lead with impact - questioning what work is and why and how we do it. A global pandemic accelerated the change in ways I could never have predicated.
The 2020s is one of those decades that will go down in history as defining, momentous and significant. Its impact on
people’s lives is still yet to be written, but one thing for sure is this will be the decade when X-Gen and the X-Gen will come
into their own.
The 2019 IWG Global Workspace Survey found that, globally, flexible working matters to employees, with 50% working remotely for at least half of the week, and 70% at least one day a week. This is a stark contrast to just 6% in 1999. Now to be clear, flexible working in this context means not working the traditonal 9-5, 5 days a week. Part-time working, different start and end times and some element of remote (homeworking) were all thrown into the mix. Many organisations resisted working from home requests as they didn't trust how it could work, or indeed whether their people would actually work.
March 2020 meant everyone was challenged to think about what work was and how we do it.
All of a sudden, bosses were asked to send any non essential key workers home to either work from their lock down homes or be furloughed. A new survey by CASS Business School, IESE Business School and HR Service Provider SD Worx claims that two thirds (65 percent) of British employees are working remotely during the lockdown. Almost half (47 percent) of the new batch of remote workers had never worked remotely before the COVID-19 crisis.
Now as bosses are being asked by Government to return to work (physical site) if it is safe to do so, now the question arises as to whether anyone wants to. In a recent Linkedin poll I asked, "In future job searches, what working conditions would you actively search for? 75% of respondents said Flexible/Agile working patterns would be in their future searches. 20% said working 100% remotely would be their requirement. Just 5% of searchers wanted 100% on site working.
Google, Amazon, RBS amongst others have already stated that they won't be bringing back their staff into onsite working until 2021, with some 20% of start ups and SME's already surrending their office leases. Now this is causing huge concerns for landlords, retailers, restaurants, even parking lot owners and transport companies who serve the office hubs. The current economic infratsructure is already hugely impacted, but what this continues long term.
The reality is that everyone needs to reimagine what work is, how it is done and how we devlop our economy to support a new way of living and working. Amazon are already planning to go into the online grocery market as they see the continued trend. Uber eats and deliveroo are enabling restaurants and cafes to pivot their services. Town planners are hatching plans to bring residential development into high streets and office blocks, to bring peoples lives into the city hubs.
So what does this means for Leaders?
It means rethinking and redisgning your organisation for the future. It means making strategic decisions that enable you to survive long term, enable high performance and attract, retain and develop top talent. It means challenging your beliefs about work. It means getting clear on the kind of organisation you want to create, what is non-negotiable and what is up for adaption and transformation. Above all it means being open-minded, nimble and proactive.
If you need support in making this happen, we are here to help.
In my next blog I will share how companies can shape their future organisations for success - post pandemic.