Workplaces are underpinned by a web of relationships. At best these relationships are built around a purpose in service of a need in society. With time we can forget what it was we wanted to serve, and work can become mundane and a place of suffering, discontent and disengagement. The lockdown has allowed us to pause and reexamine our work ethics, culture, and structures.
In the words of one of my clients “One day, I was braiding my daughter’s hair. I got more and more frustrated and finally angry with myself that I could not cherish this moment because it was taking me away from work.” She meant a zoom call to check in with her colleagues about how they were all doing under lockdown. Her frustration was at many levels. She felt there was no space for her to express her true feelings in the so-called check-in. She had no say in when the best time for the meeting was. Since for her, and many other parents, mornings were the worst time, the meetings were dominated by a few individuals talking about what they had done during the lockdown, nothing about feelings or needs. She had forgotten why she loved this job in the first place; it had become about meeting goals and targets with no space to reflect on the purpose. Senior management came up with different strategies on how to cope with the lockdown, none of which seemed to have taken her needs into consideration. Sounds familiar ….no?
As we get into this new future of hybrid work, where should we start the discussion? The question about how many days we should be going to the office seems to be inadequate without reexamining the purpose of what we do.
Our proposal is a deep dialogue starting with a grand vision of our work: what is it in service of? How is my work an expression of who I am? How can we design a work environment that allows each one of us to express our love, our creativity and to have empowering relationships with each other? In other words, work as an alive and adaptive system.
We do not claim to have the answers, but we have seen it time and again that when we build a loving space, we can create a future that is different from the future based on the past. Join us for the conversation on Tuesday 9 November from 16-19 hrs CET.