The Real "New Way of Working"?

futureofwork Dec 14, 2020
Over the years, I have been involved in many large organisational transformations. In recent times this has been dubbed "New Way of Working (NWOW)" and mainly involved large scale 'agile' rollouts across thousands and tens of thousands of people. Much talk was made of how NWOW was revolutionary and in many ways it was and is still a core part of much of the work I do. All things evolve however, and sometimes that evolution is rapid. No more so than in 2020. 
Today  there was a really interesting article today based on Swinburne Uni research looking at attitudes to working from home in the future after our experiences this year. 
I'm not surprised that "No Commute" is seen as the top benefit. The 20 hour weekly commute isnt holding much appeal for me in 2021 and beyond. Anecdotally I'm finding that those in 'middle management' position are the keenest to get everyone back into the office whereas others, especially those with young families,  really do not want to give up the flexibility gained this year through huge hardship.
So is the genie out of the bottle? My highlight this year were the series of training courses and workshops we rolled out across Ireland from the shed at the bottom of my garden in Melbourne! A truly wonderful group of people to work with. I'm not sure geographically limiting our potential for customers, clients and team mates to collaborate with that is wise.  
But maybe innovation is stifled working from home? (See how Silicon valley is adapting Or will the sunk costs in commercial real estate drive people back into the office? Does this setup a dynamic where more adventurous organisations who embrace a distributed working environment attract the top talent with a lower cost base? Or maybe this is just a passing experiment in a year like no other...  
Personally I see a hybrid solution going forward which will complicate the world of work even more. Some organisations already are attempting to bring their whole workforces back and reset the clock to 2019 but I suspect its not going to be that simple. Real estate prices outside of the large cities are already seeing a jump in values as people decide to make the switch outside of the city and balance life in a different way. But its going to be bumpy on many levels. Here at PoP in 2021 we are going to try and smooth the ride as much possible for as many people as we can. Its exciting and scary all at the same time... 

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