Do we really use the adaptive space for new ways of working?
Corona-pandemic forced us to change our work practices. Traditional ways of working were no more possible, and we had to invent new ones. At workplaces, we have created new work practices and learned new technologies. Many organizations adopted digital tools and processes even surprisingly fast and continued their operations quite smoothly.
Increased autonomy and flexibility have been great, but over a year in isolation makes us long back for our old lives. We certainly miss our colleagues, meeting, greeting, eating together, maybe even some work trips.
Currently, organizations are building their exit strategies for workplace safety, thinking about how to use office space, and building instructions for hybrid work. This is, of course, all good, but could we do even better?
Corona-pandemic created an external shock that, according to strategy and innovation research will have both short- and long-term consequences. Respondents to our surveys see that crisis created not only challenges but also rewards for their work lives, collaboration with colleagues, and work-life balance.
Leadership researchers call leaders and followers to use this adaptive space created by external shock well. Yes, this is akin to the popularized verse “never let a good crisis go a waste”, but will we let it go waste if we pick only the low-hanging fruits and make some minor or incremental improvements?
There will be long-lasting and unpredictable consequences on how we think, live, and work. Employees, customers, suppliers, collaborators, and competitors change—some faster, some slower. We cannot predict all changes, but we can prepare ourselves to adapt and benefit from them.
Could we use this opportunity to learn from our experiences and build something new and better? Can we let go of what is unnecessary, not really serving us anymore now, and even less in the future? We can choose those work practices that are valuable and meaningful, possibly just realize them in even better ways. And finally, we can create new digital ways of working may be creating extraordinary value, but we did not see them as possible before.