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- Shimrit Janes, Director of Knowledge at DWG
If you’d said the word ‘hybrid’ a few years ago, it most likely would have been in connection with a car. Say the word ‘hybrid’ today and it instantly brings to mind the workplace. Following the ‘great working from home experiment’ of 2020/2021, and as the return to the office continues, one big question keeps igniting passionate debates: ‘Where will people work from?’.
In this episode of Digital Workplace Impact, host Nancy Goebel is joined by DWG’s Director of Knowledge, Shimrit Janes; together they discuss the complex and multidimensional issues that can arise from this question.
In theory, it might seem like a simple question, with a simple answer. People who are desk-based will work either from an office or from home, often flexing between the two. The ‘hybrid’ at hand is therefore simply a workforce that exists across both locations – or is it?
Earlier this year, Shimrit produced one of DWG’s latest research reports, entitled Hybrid work reimagined: Advanced practices for connected workplaces. Picking up on this, Nancy and Shimrit discuss some of the ideas the research uncovered and consider what may come next.
Join them to hear more about structures and equity, challenges and practices, along with some great advice to help you make the most of the hybrid workplace.
NB: Correction – please note the reference in this podcast to the IMF should actually refer to the World Bank.
Download the report excerpt: Hybrid work reimagined: Advanced practices for connected workplaces
Read the blog: Advanced practices for hybrid working
Report author: Shimrit Janes
The Art of Gathering
[00:00:00.130] – Shimrit Janes
One of the big things that’s come through for hybrid is this fear of surveillance, and if I can’t see you in the office, I need to make sure you’re working wherever you are. And actually, that can be counterproductive. The question for me is if we’re going to now evolve into something that is sustainable, how can we make it so that this idea of hybrid working is more organic, is more fitted to how people want to be working, is driven by our needs and our choices, rather than it being forced on us as something.
[00:00:34.270] – Nancy Goebel
If you said the word hybrid prior to 2022, it’s most likely that it would have conjured up images of hybrid cars or hybrid animals, or maybe even hybrid plants. It wasn’t a concept that particularly associated with the world of work, even though such terms as remote, flexible, distributed work were already well known and frequently used to refer to the different places that people worked from. Say the word hybrid today and it instantly brings to mind hybrid workplaces. And following the great Working from Home experiment of 2020 and 2021, one big question that’s kicked off much passionate debate is where will people work from next? In theory, seems like a simple question that should give rise to a simple answer. In reality, people who are desk-based will work either from an office or from home, often flexing between the two during the course of the week. The hybrid at hand is therefore simply a workforce that exists across both locations. In practice, though the answer is far more complex and multi-dimensional, as is the question. Join me in conversation with DWG’s Director of Knowledge Shimrit Janes. Shimrit dipped back into a writing workshop earlier this year to produce one of DWG’s latest research reports entitled ‘Hybrid work reimagined: Advanced practices for connected workplaces’.
[00:02:06.310] – Nancy Goebel
During our time together, we had a chance to talk about structures, challenges, enablers, practices. As always, Shim imparted some expert advice. And of course, there are many other layers as we unpack this podcast theme. Join me now in conversation with Shimrit. Happy listening, as always.
[00:02:27.400] – Nancy Goebel
WIth Shimrit as our Director of Knowledge, she’s no stranger to sitting down and writing, whether it’s in book form or research papers, and so Shimrit we’re always excited to have you come into conversation with us so we can get some insights into some of your latest thinking on behalf of DWG. And of course, this new research is centred around reimagining hybrid, and I think the best place to start is to say what inspired this research for you?
[00:03:02.260] – Shimrit Janes
It’s such a huge topic. I think you see it being written about so much in the news and not just in the news. My friends are talking about it, families are talking about it, the government is talking about it, various governments, and it goes to the heart of where people are working and why in a way that the pandemic shifted everything in such a monumental way for people who are used to working in offices. And now that we’re starting to move into this idea of it being endemic and post-pandemic, that question of where people are going to be and do they have a choice around it? And if they do have choice, what are the parameters guiding it? It’s huge because it has such a knock on effect in terms of local economies, retail, the impact on families, on caregiving. It’s not just a question of two days in the office, three days at home. It has such huge ripple effects on society. It was a no-brainer for the research programme to look at this last year.
[00:04:05.350] – Nancy Goebel
And that’s a great context to frame it. And I guess one of the things that comes to mind for me is that for the last two plus years, people have been talking about what many knowledge workers have been doing as hybrid working. In reality, it was much more along the lines of pandemic working because the circumstances were so unique. And so tell us a little bit about how you see the shift to a true hybrid presence in the workplace as we move into that endemic realm.
[00:04:38.770] – Shimrit Janes
There was this really nice serendipity when I was writing the research report, where at the same time I’ve been reading a book by Tyson Younger Porter, who is an Indigenous thinker, and he had written about how indigenous thinking can save the world and by pure happenstance, there was a quote in the book that I was able to include in the research which talks about how hybridization is this kind of natural thing that occurs in nature and not just in nature, but in cultures and language and law. And when things are of a similar nature, it’s really natural for those things to kind of cross-pollinate. And then if the system is sustainable and over time it’s like a productive hybrid thing that emerges. And actually an abomination occurs when hybridization is forced by an external agent. And obviously he’s talking about nature and our systems and all that kind of thing. But it felt so relevant for this paper and the idea of hybrid working, because I think the way in which we’ve been working, many of us have been working the last two years was forced by an external agent. It wasn’t hybrid, it was homeworking for a lot of us, but it was forced.
[00:05:44.100] – Shimrit Janes
And so that feeling of working remotely for many wasn’t happening in a sustainable environment, where it organically emerged as something that people wanted to do. They were forced to do it in really difficult circumstances. The question for me is, if we’re going to now evolve into something that is sustainable, how can we make it so that this idea of hybrid working is more organic, is more fitted to how people want to be working, is driven by our needs and our choices rather than being forced on us or something. And so I think there’s a lesson there, not only in terms of framing how we’ve been working the last couple of years, but how do we want to frame how we’re going to be working going forward so that it occurs naturally and in a way that feels right for how people want to be working. Rather than, again, forcing something externally on people, whether that’s two or three days in the office or saying you all need to be in the office, because that’s what the powers that be think should be happening.
[00:06:46.190] – Nancy Goebel
Conversations like this give rise to discussion about core structures. And I think about chats we’ve had with the likes of Ryan Anderson from MillerKnoll, of course, that’s formerly Herman Miller, and he talks about this new world in terms of the living office. And there are different work modes that people need to be able to navigate, whether it’s for feedback, conversations versus collaboration versus name your scenario. And so within the context of this research, how do you approach the idea of core structures?
[00:07:24.920] – Shimrit Janes
One of the things that really surprised me when we were doing the research was the power of language. I think we know that instinctively anyway. But one of the things that really came out was when we talk about structures. Yes. And we’ll take a look at the idea of time and place and activity-based. But the first thing to really interrogate was what does the language we’re using say about our assumed structure? And what does it say about where power resides? So this idea of anytime, anywhere, you often hear lead leaders say, oh, we don’t care where you’re working from or when you’re working, just as long as you’re getting the work done. And it’s supposed to be empowering. But actually there’s a hidden message there, which is like, I don’t care whether you’re overworking or if you’re working in the dead of the night, or if you have too much of a workload, as long as you’re getting the work done. So there’s things that are kind of hidden within the language being used. So anytime, anywhere, what are we really saying when we say that? Is it empowering or is it just focused on productivity?
[00:08:21.360] – Shimrit Janes
The idea of remote work is often used when it’s when we talk about hybrid. But the idea of remote is that you are physically and socially remote from a power base that’s still the office. So is that the method it may be intentional, it may be your power base is still the office. And if you’re not in the office, you are remote.
[00:08:38.990] – Shimrit Janes
But is that the intention of the language, if that’s what you’re using when you talk about hybrid? And then we see others, we see people talk about the idea of digital-first, which is actually, it doesn’t matter where you are, because where we all unite is our digital HQ. So this is the idea of the digital workplace becoming the essential workplace. And then more and more, we see this idea of distributed work. So actually, regardless of where you are, if it’s the office or at home or a third place, a client site or a factory, you are all part of the same distributed workforce. So I just wanted to highlight the power of language and just something for teams to think about is what language are we using and what kind of unintentional coded hidden messages are we saying in the language that we use?
[00:09:20.670] – Nancy Goebel
That hits such a chord for me, Shimrit, because I’m thinking about conversations we were having with a cross section of members and our wider industry circles where initially people were talking about return to work as opposed to return to office. And needless to say, there was a bit of a backlash because people have, as you pointed out, working really hard from home and in some cases running double time in their personal lives, as well as working very long hours from their home offices. And so language has power.
[00:10:02.380] – Shimrit Janes
It does. And even the word return assumes that you’re going back to how things were before, whereas actually is what we’re doing about reimagining how we work. So, yeah, the language being used is essential, yet return to work gets my back up time, but I know it does for other people as well. And then in terms of the kind of structures that are being used, I think this is the one that you hear about the most, I think, particularly in the news, is this idea of where are people working and when are people working? And so you could imagine, for example, a quadrant where you think, is the location fixed or is it flexible, is time fixed or is it flexible? And then you start to map against that. Okay, well, if location is fixed and time is fixed, people are in the office nine to five, for example, and that’s what you expect. Or if location is flexible but time is fixed, you can work anywhere, but you’re still working nine to five and so on and so on. I think this is something that particularly in the early days of when people talking about hybrid working, this was the structure that people were thinking about.
[00:11:10.820] – Shimrit Janes
So this is where you heard about people are having two days in the office, three days at home or whatever the ratio was, and some people are being able to work a little bit more flexibly in terms of time and different organizations approaching it in different ways. This is the kind of starting point for the structure and it can work for some, I guess, if you engage with your employees and you’ve asked them, where do you want to be working from? When do you want to be working and kind of empowering in that way at the same time, this is the kind of model where we’ve seen some backlash, for example, from Apple. That was the famous one that was in the news where a core of that workforce kind of went against what they were being told they needed to do. So this is one way of approaching it, but with a really easy tweak to the model, you can do something that’s a lot more empowering and a lot more impactful than just talking about time and place. So if you take the same quadrant, location across one axis and time across the other, but then switch it.
[00:12:12.900] – Shimrit Janes
So you’re thinking, is the work that the person is doing location dependent or is it location agnostic? So say, for example, you might have an IT team who need to be on-site with servers. They’re location dependent, or you might have a creative team who actually come up from anywhere. So they’re location agnostic. And then you look at time again, so time dependent, time diagnostic, you might have somebody where they need to be together in real time, working together all the time because they’re working intensely on a project where they need to be collaborating in real time really quickly all the time. Or you might have a team where they’re time agnostic so they can work asynchronously they’re across time zones, they can easily hand stuff over from each other. And that structure completely changes the model for hiring/ working on its head, where you’re not just thinking about where are people and when, but why are they there? And it then allows you to think about not just an individual’s job or the activities that they’re doing. It allows you to think more about the teams and the people that they’re working with. Are they working with clients, are they all those things?
[00:13:21.770] – Shimrit Janes
And so if you were to take that structure, you can start to map people’s jobs, people’s activities. You might have a job that is 60% of the time location-dependent, but 40% of the time location agnostic. So that then starts to create a model for that persona. Or you might have a team where 30% of the month, they need to be together in real-time. So it makes sense to have a space in the office, but the rest of the time, actually, they can work whenever they want, and as long as they have a good culture and digital workplace and good collaboration techniques, it doesn’t matter so much where they are. So this is like an essential pivot for thinking about it. So it’s not starting from time and place, but starting from the activities that people are doing.
[00:14:06.140] – Nancy Goebel
And so a focus for you is really getting us to think big picture, starting with languages, power, right? The words we use have a real effect on people. And the structure that you just showed was a slight pivot and language, but a very powerful one. In the thought of equity and inclusion, something that you’ll be tackling later on in the year more fully, I’m sure there are some initial challenges that you were thinking through as part of this research. Give us a little bit of a window into what some of those challenges might be.
[00:14:45.430] – Shimrit Janes
Yes, definitely. And I think just going back briefly to the idea of the structure and this comes to the idea of equity as well, is that this isn’t just about empowering individuals, but about empowering teams and communities as well. And this starts to get into the idea of equity, too. So one of the things that we spoke about, the idea of proximity bias in a previous piece of research that was about collaboration. And this is an old, old study that over time still to this day is proven right time and time again. And it’s the idea of Allen curve. And it shows that the closer that you physically are to somebody, the more likely you are to communicate with them. And this was originally done within an office. But we know study after study after study has shown that if you are physically with somebody, you’re more likely to speak with them. So if you apply that to hybrid working, if you have people in the office together, they’re more likely to speak with each other versus the people who are at home or off site or in a factory or elsewhere. And so for equity, that has a real implication if you think about different groups, if you look at it through the lens of gender, for example, we know the pandemic showed us that caregiving for women time and again, they’re the ones picking up the slack for caregiving.
[00:16:00.810] – Shimrit Janes
So they’re more likely to be at home because caregiver responsibilities and the men are more likely to be on-site in the office because they’re not taking up those activities, they have the benefit of having face time with the managers. For example, if the managers aren’t thinking about the equity of their team or if you think about marginalised groups, there’s been research that has shown that a number of people from marginalised groups, whether that’s ethnicity or sexual orientation, who typically experience microaggressions in an office space, they don’t want to go back because actually at home they’re less likely to experience those microaggressions. But that means they’re not getting FaceTime again. Because you’ve got managers in the office and you can go through lots of different groups, such as age groups, class and income disabilities, and just think through that model of hybrid working. If you’re not really thinking about the impact on equity and you can do that with your HR Department, with your DEI programme to really think through those different lenses, you’re going to have unintended consequences. If you just rely on people to go where it feels natural to them without asking the why, why do people not want to be in the office?
[00:17:13.220] – Shimrit Janes
Or why do people want to be at home? Or how can we make sure our managers are making sure they’re aware of the bias they might have dependent on who is in the office with them and then empowering managers to lead by example. So they’re also embracing hybrid working and not just on site all the time. So equity can be a real. It’s one of the things that came through is one of the big challenges for hybrid working. But you need to intentionally think about in collaboration with HR or your DEI programme or your employee resource groups, so that you’re designing something that is inclusive.
[00:17:45.810] – Nancy Goebel
And I’d say when I look at the history of digital workplace leaders, digital workplace practitioners, they’ve long been leaders that have had to think about how to work cross-functionally. But a lot of the emphasis has typically been about how do you bring together IT and traditional HR, internal communications and sometimes even knowledge or business transformation teams. Here, there’s a whole new lens around digital workplace leaders and practitioners needing to straddle the idea of being makers of change and change-makers all at the same time, and instigating discussion and focus around equity in ways that haven’t really been approached by this group, this community before. So I think you’ve given us a lot to think about in this space and obviously we can’t solve for all of the challenges in a short time spam like this. But I want to make sure that we do give a window to some of the most powerful enablers so that we’re crossing the spectrum of challenges and opportunities.
[00:19:03.830] – Shimrit Janes
Yeah. So in terms of enablers, it’s interesting because I could just talk about some of the nice things that we know are positively impacted. But I also want to say those challenges can be turned into enablers if you address them. So in the paper, we found the areas equity, trust, social capital. So who do you know and who are the kind of weak ties within your network and wellbeing are some of the biggest challenges for hybrid working. The flip of that is, if you can address these in your programme, they can become enablers. So are you thinking about how trust is built? Are you thinking about how people ties beyond their immediate relationships are being supported? Are you thinking about wellbeing? So there are some of the kind of removing those barriers and approaching them with intention, they can become enablers rather than challenges. And then in terms of other areas, we know that areas things such as leadership. So leaders leading by example, are they in the office all the time or are they demonstrating the way in which hybrid can work themselves is really important? We know that having intentional cross- functional structures that are leading strategically is really important.
[00:20:16.910] – Shimrit Janes
The idea of infrastructure. So you’re thinking about your rethinking your policies. Are you rethinking areas such as access to employee services as things being digitised? I think of the World Bank and how they rethought their whole onboarding and inboarding programme so that it was accessible digitally and you weren’t reliant on being in the office, so that’s removing a barrier and making it available regardless of where you’re working. One of the things that came out really strongly in the research was the role of managers. I think the middle management is often get a bad rep as being a bottleneck. But actually one of the things and this is something Microsoft in particular found. They have like a really important role to play when it comes to hybrid, when it comes to cultivating their team, allowing people to express themselves, creating psychological safety, helping create this structure that works for them. And so coaching managers to be able to navigate this trickles down to teams, so that’s an essential layer to be working with, and then individual capability as well. So one of quite a few people in the research we did spoke about hybrid competency and how there are particular skills that lend themselves really well to hybrid working, such as relationship building, either digitally or in person, being able to find information, being able to demonstrate that you are trustworthy, or there are particular skills that lend themselves really well to hybrid working.
[00:21:50.420] – Shimrit Janes
But if you don’t have those skills and you’re not supported to develop them, you’re going to really struggle in this environment. So then we go back to the idea of equity. So there’s some of the areas that’s not all of them. There’s more in the research report, but there’s kind of some of the key areas people need to focus on.
[00:22:07.550] – Nancy Goebel
I think of examples beyond the World Bank. One that comes to mind is Fidelity Investments. And like many organisations, they’ve been using Agile as their way of working as a digital workplace team for several years now. But one of the things they have done quite faithfully for over a year now is incorporating time for learning into their overall approach so that they’re investing in their people, whether it’s industry insights, soft skill development and all the rest. So that a) it’s allowing the mind to rest or to test a different part of the brain while one part rests, flexing the learning muscle instead in the brain. And so while there may be a core set of enablers, there are some organizations that are really trying to think above and beyond and really look at the individuals as a whole and tackle their growth and development alongside getting things done and also looking out for their emotional wellbeing as well. It’s been quite interesting to see how measurement discipline has taken on a whole new focus and that within that people are trying to assess the overall sentiment, the tone of the organization, alongside how productive people are, so that they can respond to those indicators earlier on than waiting until things escalate or implode.
[00:23:43.490] – Nancy Goebel
Those are some other positive enablers that I’ve seen in the mix as well. And there are quite a few organizations that are looking at these expanded set of core metrics, whether it’s with the introduction of Viva or through other tools. I’m thinking of organizations like the Coca-Cola company as one.
[00:24:04.380] – Shimrit Janes
This is what’s going to be interesting in the research we’re doing later in the year around the inclusive workplace and the ethical workplace, which is when you’re looking at metrics and you’re looking at Viva and you’re looking at all the ways of getting that data, are you doing it in an ethical way? Because I think one of the big things that’s come through for hybrid is this fear of surveillance. And if I can’t see you in the office, I need to make sure you’re working wherever you are. And actually that can be counterproductive if you have that fear of being watched, that’s not conducive to wellbeing or productivity either. It can have the opposite effect. So it’s a really important area to get the balance right.
[00:24:44.790] – Nancy Goebel
And so far we’ve explored core structures, we’ve talked about key challenges, and of course, we ventured into the space of some powerful enablers. Maybe we can shift our attention now to some of the approaches that are coming together in hybrid environments.
[00:25:06.110] – Shimrit Janes
Yeah, we joke that I went well over the word limits with the research report, and it was partly because of this section. So I’m not going to go into all the detail or we will be here for hours. But there’s just a couple of areas that I wanted to highlight. And this idea of with hybrid working, if it was just about individuals not having to collaborate, the things like structure and all the rest wouldn’t be a problem. We just let people work from wherever , however and they just get on with it. But actually the challenge for hybrid working as well is this idea of how do we collaborate and how do we come together and how do we learn and how do we connect and all those things. So the first area that we wanted to look at was the idea of collaborating, creating and innovating together. We hear time and again that actually creativity and innovation is really hard when you’re distributed because you can’t just get into an office together and put sticky notes up on the wall and all the rest. So how do you start to navigate that? So there are a few things that came up in the research.
[00:26:09.350] – Shimrit Janes
One was helping teams who want to come together kind of stretch their imagination muscle. And it feels like a strange thing to think about work in work, the idea of imagination, but actually if you want to encourage them to innovate, to create together, you need that playful element. So being able to nurture that and help people collectively imagine together in virtual environments as well as just kind of in person is a really key thing to think about. And there’s some advice in the report that you can look at for that. Another really important thing that came out and this is one of the huge learnings the pandemic as well is that you need to get really comfortable with flowing from asynchronous working to synchronous working. You hear about Zoom fatigue and meetings and backtrack meetings and all those things. And it was because people were kind of just lifting this idea that we need to be together in real-time all the time in order to be productive and collaborate and just plonked that into the digital environment. And it’s really unhealthy, it has such an impact on us. So getting to grips, this idea of when do we work asynchronously where we’re handing things off with each other in a digital environment, and when do we come together in real-time, whether that’s in person or digitally, that becomes a core way of harnessing hybrids for getting teams comfortable with that is really essential.
[00:27:32.390] – Shimrit Janes
Having a clear why was really important. There’s a book referenced in the research, which is The Art of Gathering, I think it’s called, and it gets into. We need to really understand why we’re gathering, why we’re meeting, why are we collaborating, why are we asking this person to be in this meeting? What are they adding or what are they taking away from it? And so getting into the why all the time of why are we doing this is really essential. And then facilitation becomes really important. We all know that hybrid meetings in real-time are hard, like where you have some people in person and some people that aren’t in person. And so I’ve heard examples of people having two facilitators in those meetings, one facilitator in the room and then another facilitator digitally. And they are with intention have designed that meeting and work together so that it’s as inclusive as possible. So that’s a couple of things that were really important. Collaborating, creating and innovating and learning was another one. P and G raised this in an executive circle that we took with them last year. The challenge of learning in the hybrid because you’re so reliant. Historically, so many organizations have been so reliant on just being in person and the kind of learning that happens naturally within the flow of the day, if you can pop by somebody’s desk or shadow somebody and all the rest.
[00:28:52.490] – Shimrit Janes
And there so again, there’s like a list of things in the research that you can do to try and start to solve that. But there are things that you can do, such as we’ve spoken about the idea of virtual shadowing. It’s one of the ways that I learned from you in the early days, even though we had, like, an ocean between us, I learned so much just by shadowing you, virtually the idea of inflight learning. So when you’re doing events, when you’re doing projects, do you have somebody capturing the learning as you go along. So it’s not just in the debrief, and there’s a real benefit of having the digital workplace available to you in that way. So that whether you’re in person or whether you’re virtual or whether you’re mixed, you have somebody capturing the lessons learnt, the idea of dismantling perfectionism, the idea of working out aloud, the idea of skill matching so that people can find mentors and coaches across the organization.
[00:29:44.810] – Shimrit Janes
And there’s lots more around, for example, revisiting the way that you deliver your learning. All of these things can help start to embed learning and the flow of work with intention, rather than assuming that it’s going to happen by chance. And what it eventually came into as we realised connectivity was a really important thing for crave connection. And with this section, I’d intended originally to put a whole load of examples and practice, but what I realised as I was writing was all of these things, all of these areas, if you get equity right, if you get wellbeing right, trust, social capital, all the things that we’ve said collaborating, you experience a sense of connectivity in your work. And that’s how it happened. Yes. You can think about things like coffee roulette and are we having socials and are we making sure people are having one on ones? But if you get all of these things right, it will create that sense of connectivity in the way that people are working, regardless.
[00:30:48.650] – Nancy Goebel
So we’re creating layers even around the idea of connectivity. And so I know one of the things that you’re always very thoughtful about is looking how to help people translate concept into practice. And I know you love a worksheet as a tool for helping to do that. So when we flip through the virtual pages of this research, can we expect to find one of your treasured worksheets?
[00:31:17.720] – Shimrit Janes
Yeah, and I all credit to you and as inventor of the idea of the worksheets as something that’s like a tangible thing for people to work on. But yes, at the end of every subsection, there’s a little box that says action point, and it gives a very clear exercise that teams can do. And then all of those action points are gathered together at the end of the research paper with very clearly structured, with specific exercises and reflections and activities the teams can do to start to build this in.
[00:31:51.170] – Nancy Goebel
Fantastic and I’m sure that people will be getting lots of good use out of that worksheet. I guess one of the things I’m thinking about, just as we’re getting towards the end of our time together, before we wrap up, would be just to ask you what surprised you the most as you were working through this research and read.
[00:32:14.620] – Shimrit Janes
One of the things is how much there is out there, actually, because I think we’re hearing how challenging this is for organizations and it is, it’s challenging. We’re kind of going into territory that’s unknown, even though people have decades and decades of experience of kind of working remotely. One of the things that’s new about this new era that we’re emerging into is the scale of it, the scale of which trying to get a whole organization or a whole huge group of people working in hybrid. It is new, but there is so much out there in terms of how to collaborate, how to learn together all these areas. And if you start to pull them together, you’re not having to start from scratch necessarily. So that was actually a nice surprise. And I think it’s the big thing that we’re going to have to get used to is experimenting. I think we want certainty and we want to know this is exactly what we need to do. This is the playbook. These are exact steps that we need to take. But actually, one of the things that we’re going to digital workplace practitioners are going to have to get used to is that idea of complexity in an uncertain environment.
[00:33:21.650] – Shimrit Janes
So how do we adapt? How do we quickly get feedback so that we can change? How can we experiment and be comfortable with maybe getting things wrong, but being very open in the fact that this is the environment we’re in and being inclusive of employees so that you’re not just telling them what to do, but you’re co-creating the idea of it. And this is one of the sections that’s also in the research report is the idea of listen, co-create, experiment, evolve. So, yeah, what surprised me was the amount that was out there that you can kind of play with if you’re willing to do it and take the experimental mindset.
[00:33:56.070] – Nancy Goebel
And of course, when you open things up for experimentation, you have to allow for not only the successes to shine through, but to be able to deal with the failures that may come up and to take what you can from the inflight learnings and apply those for whatever comes next. So that not only are you providing opportunities for development in structured ways, but that you’re using the experimental phases inside of a team, inside of a construct for learning and development there as well. Last question. Have we missed anything? Any parting advice you want to impart?
[00:34:38.990] – Shimrit Janes
I think the biggest area is this idea of experimentation, and that’s really uncomfortable for lots of people. And I think acknowledging that that’s uncomfortable and being able to be honest with your employees, that we don’t have all the answers, but we’re going to work together to find this out, and we’re going to listen to you and adapt as needed is going to be essential because there is no one answer. The right answers will emerge over time, and that is deeply uncomfortable, I know. So finding a way to become comfortable with the idea of experimentation is going to be essential.
[00:35:23.900] – Nancy Goebel
Well, that’s a powerful piece of advice, Shimrit. Thank you for that.
[00:35:28.430] – Speaker 3
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