For most of us the pandemic meant a radical change in the way we work. Without having much of a choice, we went to a fully remote setup from one week to the next. In the sudden absence of all the typical aspects of our work life, we learned that, apart from keeping our sanity, all that really mattered was the result. There are many companies that had already experienced working remotely before the pandemic, however, in our case it meant exploring how that works for us, on a personal level, in our teams and with our partners and clients.
Apart from our personal ways of dealing with that, there was one big advantage – we were all in the same position, being confronted with similar challenges and whether you wanted or not, we had to keep an open mind to see what worked. We all learned together. Now, with the pandemic slowly allowing us to imagine the office being part of our regular work life again, we find ourselves in the position of having the freedom to choose. A choice between a variety of different work modes that all come with their own set of advantages, both for the individual and the companies behind them.
We do not yet have all the answers to the questions surrounding our future workspace. But we do believe that we can find out together what works best for us and our clients. The kick-off for that process started a few weeks ago. We have started an internal experiment with the goal to test all kinds of work modes and generate learnings along the way. Every team can try different work modes, will do regular retros, and will share their learnings with everyone. This period will also offer the opportunity to test out systems we currently have doubts about, like how mixed meetings will work – internally and with our clients, too. We are encouraged to dive into the unknown now, in a setting where it’s not about the success, but about the process.
So, what can we learn from the past journey and what do we take with us for the upcoming adventure?
Fail and learn. Together.
In one way or another we all went through tough times in the past months. While there were more challenges than the ones related to work, they all put us in more than one new and often uncomfortable position. Meaning new surroundings, new distractions, new opportunities, new mistakes and maybe the most important of all – new learnings. Facing new challenges and hardships is always a scary prospect when doing it alone. However, we are all wading through these uncharted waters together, as a group, ready to adventure into the unknown. It makes us equal in the face of something new, all at the beginning of a new journey. A journey in which we will try, fail, learn, adjust and do it all again – together.
Together does not mean in the same way.
Maybe more than ever, the new situation we find ourselves in, has made one thing clear – we are not the same, we do not have the same needs, therefore there is not just one way to do things successfully. Aiming for fairness, we often try to find one rule that is supposed to work for everyone. Everyone back to the office, everyone at home, same work hours, same setup, same struggles. But because our individual situations and personalities are so different – that is neither fair nor necessary. So, let’s embrace our differences and trust that in facing the same goal we will continue finding our individual ways to reach it.
So, how does our future work life look like?
The most important skill we can all bring to our future adventure is the ability to learn and adapt. As Heraclitus said – “Change is the only constant in life.”
We can trade control and the urge to predict every possible outcome for a fail-forward-mindset, allowing us to be more open-minded for new ways of working and generating valuable learnings along the way. We should not just accept our different ways to succeed but embrace them and support each other based on our individual needs. Being skeptical or even scared about what and how we will do things in the future and whether it will work or not is okay, but it shouldn’t stop us from trying new things anyway. As always, communication will be key, and I am looking forward to hearing all kinds of learning journeys from all over the world – uniting us in the adventure of finding out what our future of work can look like.