How to create lasting workplace strategies
Author: Shani Persson Date: October 31st 2023
“Invite people to the table and build the future WITH and FOR them, not just on their behalf.”
How can you empower work within your organization, and where do you begin? In a series of articles, we have talked about numerous ways in which the workplace is changing.
However, in this edition we invited Shani Persson, co-founder of Wonder, to explore a more practical approach. She shares her thoughts on how to create lasting change in the workplace and where to start.
A lot of things are changing when we think and talk about work. Knowing how to create spaces for people to successfully collaborate, contribute and communicate can be a daunting task.
We have been used to work as a noun. A place where we go to perform a specific set of tasks. Now, work is a verb, an action that we take, independent of location (for many of us). This is nudging us to change not just the way we think but the way we act and solve problems in the workplace.
There are three essential shifts we can make to navigate this change and make it count.
Get the data - speak to your people
If you want solutions that are relevant to the context and people of your business, these will not be created in an isolated forum away from the organization.
The needs will look different for different teams, situations and over time, therefore it is beneficial to create habits around:
- Listening to employees continuously
- Facilitating discussion within teams to frame challenges and needs
- Adapting solutions based on employee- insight and data
All the information and creativity you need to solve the challenges already exist where you are. Invite people to the table and build the future WITH and FOR them, not just on their behalf.
Highlight your assumptions
Assumption is the mother of all mistakes. Start by bringing to the surface the predetermined ideas about office- and hybrid work where you don’t actually have any data to support it. AND, put those assumptions to the side.
Are you assuming creativity happens at the coffee-machine and that successful collaboration needs a whiteboard? Or are you thinking everyone loves the silent focus of the kitchen table?
- Resist the urge to put a location on specific activities. It will open up for more informative conversations and innovative solutions.
- Anchor back to who you are building this environment for and instead approach the conversation with curiosity.
If we learn to understand our employees, their needs and the flow of their life, location becomes just one of many parameters that determine our work.
Ask the right questions
Having fruitful conversations also demands us to ask good questions. Office versus hybrid is the wrong question.
It is about understanding what is needed in each workplace to promote wellbeing and getting the work done. And using that insight to shape our solutions. Most of the time, that means we need to flip the script and ask different types of questions:
❌ Stop asking: How do we get people to go to certain places?
✅ Start asking: What do people need to do a good job?
❌ Stop asking: How do we get people together (physically) to create/connect/collaborate?
✅ Start asking: When do you most benefit from meeting in person?
❌ Stop asking: How can we collaborate better in person/online?
✅ Start asking: What does good collaboration look like for you?
❌ Stop asking: How do we make people connect?
✅ Start asking: Tell me about the times when you feel really connected to your peers and/or leader. What happened then?
Understanding how people act at work and why they make different choices gives a much more solid ground for solutions that will be both more used and more loved!
Shani Persson, co-founder Wonder
Shani Persson spent more than 10 years in corporate people-functions – driving change, and building culture and experiences for co-workers.
Through a diverse mix of people- and growth competence and design thinking, she now works through Wonder to help companies and individuals create workplaces that accomodate for the whole human – mind, body and soul.
ROL Intelligent Office
ROL Intelligent Office enables employees to gain the maximum benefits of collaboration, focus, and productivity, while maintaining a healthy and sustainable work-life balance.