2021: The Future of Work

“As leaders we tend to be an unusual group, far more resilient than the average bear. Don’t assume others have your strength. Go beyond your own experience. A bit of empathy and creating psychological safety for others goes a long, long way”– Carol Kaufman, Assistant Professor Harvard Medical School and Founder/Executive Director of the Institute of Coaching

 In 2020, we saw the greatest shift in the way we work. Hybrid ways of working are now becoming the norm, bringing great opportunities such as flexible working models, better work-life balance and giving access to talent pools around the globe. The pandemic truly fast-forwarded the ‘future of work’ by years. There is no going back. Now we need to make hybrid working “work”.

 In 2020, we saw the greatest shift in the way we work. Hybrid ways of working are now becoming the norm, bringing great opportunities such as flexible working models, better work-life balance and giving access to talent pools around the globe. The pandemic truly fast-forwarded the ‘future of work’ by years. There is no going back. Now we need to make hybrid working “work”.

 Part of this means, that leaders need to recognize the connection between productivity and wellbeing. While productivity was up last year, research shows that a majority of employees are experiencing severe levels of stress. This is no surprise with lines being blurred between work and personal life, lack of connection creating isolation and many of us dealing with uncertainty. It should also not come as a surprise, that wellbeing is an important factor that affects an organization’s bottom line. To drive and sustain, human potential, well-being needs to be part of work.

 2021 will be a great opportunity for leaders to move away from falling back into a pre-pandemic pattern. It will mean making the changes needed to become more aware of their team’s needs. This includes being more transparent, being compassionate (i.e. having a deep understanding of yourself and others), helping people construct meaning to their work and open channels for feedback. Psychological safety plays a key role in creating and nurturing the new culture needed for wellbeing. We all know that a team can only be highly effective if there is trust and respect. These are the two qualities that allow people to speak up, share ideas but also concerns, challenge the status quo while supporting each other.

If the pandemic has shown one thing: at the end of the day, organizations are all about people. The success and wellbeing of both, in 2021 and beyond, are closely intertwined.

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