Post-pandemic working: a view from a large firm
Helen Brennan from LSCA reflects on how we can continue to adapt to a hybrid work life.
For a number of years, I have enjoyed the flexibility of being able to work from home when convenient. This used to mean an occasional day working from home so that I could sign for a delivery, or save on travelling time to and from one of my children’s schools for an event. If you had told me that I would spend more than 18 months working from home every day, I wouldn’t have believed you!
Today, I haven’t been into the office since March 2020 and, having demonstrated that I can deliver from home, I’m now contemplating a future of “hybrid working”. Here’s what I’m hoping to get, planning to develop and trying to imagine:
Hoping to get: good communication to every individual of what the change means for them
Stylish presentations outlining broad concepts and featuring words such as hybrid, flexible and agile may have a place, but most people want to know “what will it be like for me?” Communications should enable every individual to understand what they, personally, have to do differently and how the organisation will support them in this change.
Planning to develop: different, better chairing skills
Hybrid meetings, with some attendees in the room, some on-screen, will increasingly be the norm – but this calls for an entirely different level of chairing skills, to ensure everyone feels included and able to participate. I attended a meeting recently where one attendee needed to display a presentation – this was displayed on the screen that had previously displayed the details of the on-line attendees. When the on-line attendees were out of sight, the chair forgot they were there!
I’ve also seen the opposite – considerate, intentional chairing that got the best out all participants.
Trying to imagine: a changing the London business landscape
Some business commentators have demanded that workers return to the office, citing the need to re-establish a customer base for all the businesses located near to commercial centres. I don’t think we will see a return to pre-pandemic levels of commuting into the centre. This may, however, create an opportunity for smaller local businesses in more residential areas to become hubs for home-workers looking for a change of scene.