The pandemic has taught us that the future is now—and that the future of work is hybrid. But there’s also an urgency to have the right people, processes and tools in place to lead this change, particularly as organizations face the Great Resignation.
Cheryl Cran, a future of work expert, best-selling author and founder of NextMapping, helps leaders and teams create a people-first future that uses technology for good. And she had some advice on how to do this during an interactive webinar, The Future of Work is Now, presented by Allstream and Cisco. The webinar is part of a three-part series on the future of work.
Navigating the pace of change
“Do we have what’s necessary to leverage the hybrid remote work reality that we’re in?” Cran asked attendees. “Are we as leaders and team members able to capitalize and pivot quickly in the face of change and disruption? Are we able to navigate the fast pace of change?”
We’re in a new era of continued disruption, so we need to be able to pivot quickly and respond to ongoing change. Technology plays a key role, but it’s not the only tool in the toolbox.
Workers are struggling to find a balance between their personal lives and the ‘always on’ nature of remote work. That’s resulted in low morale and high turnover, which is a “very huge issue for most organizations in every industry right now,” said Cran. “The struggle is real, the challenges are real.”
The rise of hybrid work promises better work/life balance, but “hybrid is something that we don’t all have figured out,” she said.
Combining tech tools with EQ
If you don’t have tech tools and cloud solutions that allow hybrid work to be seamless, connected and integrated, you’ll be challenged with recruiting talent, retaining talent and customer engagement.
But, according to Cran, the best leaders combine TQ (technology intelligence) with EQ (emotional intelligence). TQ refers to an alignment with digital maturity—that everybody in the company has built a proficiency in technology (or is taking steps to get there). EQ, on the other hand, is about self and social awareness.
“We have to lead from a place of no longer expecting people to stay just because they have a job. The future is around honouring and really appreciating our employees as well as our customers,” said Cran.
And this is even more critical during the Great Resignation.
Developing a hybrid work strategy
“We are in a worker shortage and it is predicted that we will continue to be in a worker shortage until at least the year 2030,” said Cran. Currently, 54 per cent of workers in North America are actively looking for other job opportunities.
“There’s actually a psychological reason for that,” she said. “When you’re going through a global crisis … people begin to existentially evaluate their lives. They ask themselves: How much work is too much work? How much money is enough money? How much commuting do I have going on in my life and how much time is it taking away from my work/life balance?”
As many organizations prepare for a return to the office and develop a hybrid work policy, it’s crucial to factor in this psychological piece.
If we focus all of our attention on technology without factoring in EQ, “we will burn ourselves out,” said Cran. “So it’s that balance with that human component that’s going to allow us to lead change, navigate change, and navigate the ambiguities and the disruptions with that human-centric focus.”
Join us for the second webinar in Allstream’s Future of Work 360 series, The Great Retention: How to refocus your office on employees, featuring Mark Miller, Director of Cisco’s Collaboration Center of Excellence, Hybrid Workplace, and Justin Fields, Cisco BDM, Hybrid Work and SASE. Sign up here!
Image: Sergey Khakimullin/iStock