In one sense, the COVID-19 driven business shut down was sort of easy.
Businesses were told what to do.
Flat Out shut down.
They were given a deadline, ASAP, and there wasn't a whole lot of vagary about what the marching orders were.
Business resumption is almost the opposite.
Everything is now in business lap.
When to do it, how long to take to do it and what does it look like when you do it.
Steve Hatfield will have some answers.
He is the director of the global future of work at Deloitte.
And this is really the key the future of work as we're going back to, not the past of work.
Steve, what's the biggest picture thing you're looking at that is going to be different about going back well as we start to reopen?
Well, Brian, thank you for having me.
I think the biggest dimension of this is going to be that we're not going to go back to what once was, as most organizations have recognized that virtual and distributed work can happen.
So this depends a lot on sector to sector.
So depending upon the type of industry you're in.
But immediately in the odds of COVID as you said, we're all gonna end up.
If you're a white collar worker, working in a distributed fashion virtually and remotely or in certain industries they were trying to ramp up their workforce.
In order to deal with deliveries, nonessential goods, things in the healthcare sector and so forth.
And so, what I think is going to be most impairing is that we will not go back to having everyone in the office in the same way.
And [UNKNOWN] just did a study, three out of four CFOs believe They're going to continue to have a substantial portion of their workforce remotely once we sort of create the return.
So I guess the interesting question, there is your three out of four CFOs.
See that and that's a fundamentally amazing number in itself.
So, the question is how many of them fit into each tier of saying maybe we're gonna have 10% who never come back.
20, 50, 70.
What do you see in terms of any ballpark in your mind and what that distribution look looks like.
How many companies you think will come back with most of their employees.
How many will shed most of their in office employees.
So I think the question is going to be how do they reset the workplace to enable the work that needs to happen when were together physically to happen?
And what is the nature of what then can be done remotely and how do they foster enabling that to happen more And most organizations are still dealing with the response to COVID.
Some have begun to think about throughout the history, and in thinking about the recovery, they're asking those questions.
So what does that mean in terms of Who's essential versus non essential?
Who needs to be in the in a physical workspace to get work done versus not?
If they're working remotely, how do we enable them to work remotely better?
If they do come back to the office, what's the staging of that?
What's the sequencing?
What does it mean in terms of the workplace?
What does it mean in terms of the commute to the workplace?
What does it mean in terms of things like The social distinct distancing policies you need to create in the elevator banks in order to get people up to your shop.
So there are a lot of mathematics, to the math as I say there's a lot of questions that organizations need to grapple with in order to create the right scenarios around that.
And I think depending upon the sector, different organizations are further along and thinking that through.
Yeah.>> That's majority of what we're hearing is that it's very, very dependent upon the different dimensions of what the medical community is saying I'm going to be required in order for people to have the psychological safety to return to the office.>> That's interesting.
The psychological safety is different than the Actual safety.
I know they're gonna be offices opening up relatively soon and yet I know a lot of people are gonna say, if it's optional, I'm not going back.
Absolutely right, because the psychological safety It's centered primarily on a couple things, one of which is trust.
So the trust you have in your workplace, the trust you have in your employer that they are doing all the right things around sanitizing, the office, upgrading HVDC system, you know, those sorts of things that enable you to know that it's a more physically safe for you workplace, but some of it also relates to things that the work the The organization has no control over a corporation has no control over the subway system.
Something like 70% of the workers in New York City use public transport to get to work.
So given those numbers If the subway system is gonna continue to be an environment where you're you don't feel safe, people going off not to come back to the office, they're gonna stay away.
So that's some of the numbers on the flow.
Now let's say we bring back X percentage to the office and X percent are working remotely.
Long term, we get into this idea of culture and communication.
It's always been the justification for big, elaborate expensive offices, and the hours and dollars we spend every day going back and forth to them.
And there's that old business truism that culture eats strategy for lunch.
So putting all that together How much of a loss or a challenge is it to maintain culture, when you have a lot of people and often important ones now aren't coming in anymore?
It's a real obstacle.
There's no question the organizations that are thinking about their culture more deliberately in or caring for or deliberately are the ones that will succeed.
And so what this means is, leadership needs to be different.
The way in which people connect and how you sort of milestone them, if you will, through their careers needs to be different.
The way people that you onboard them needs to be different you need to figure out in what environments and what moments in a person's career life do we create physical connection because that's important to foster one foster in our culture.
Some of that is based on their career life.
Some of that is based on their work life.
So what moments in their work day in their workflow?
Do they need to get the team together in order to do physical work and that becomes the role of the team leader.
But in doing that, that also means the reciprocal of a certain amount of care that can be given virtually.
And you're hearing about it now, team leaders that are checking in teams that are doing on your online yoga classes together.
The Japanese have a word for digital joint called unknown a. [LAUGH] You hear more and more and more of that going on.
And I think that's in part a response to those organizations that are That realize that culture does matter.
So let's say I worked for you at Deloit and we would, pre-pandemic, we'd have certainly probably a weekly get together to check-in in your office.
There we would be face to face or whoever it was whose a team and a direct report.
And here we are now on Zoom or Teams or Meet or whatever the different companies use Is this really a good analog for that?
Or are we simply getting a haircut in terms of our ability to work together as a cultural team?
I think it's a very strong facsimile.
I think it's possible for you to content creator the right connection and to do the right level of interaction on a zoom call.
I think the challenge becomes doing it continuously throughout the day.
And there's something real now.
It's called Zoo fatigue.
And basically what it says is that when you are interacting with a group of people in a physical setting, there's a set of subliminal muscles that come to the table that help you kinda understand How humans communicate and there's things that are happening informally that your brain is picking up on that you don't have access to when we're on a Zoom call.
So when you're looking at 8 or 10 faces on the screen, you're using only a certain subset of that muscle structure.
And those muscles get tired because you're having to focus hard on.
Just a few things of what people are saying and how to stay abreast of that.
And then the dialogue on Zoom fatigue as a result of that.
There's a certain dissonance about being connected to someone virtually, whatever platform or technology it is, but a video connection like this because our brain knows that it looks like it's real, but it's not real.
It looks like we're there, but we're not there.
And I think we have to constantly be processing and filling in gaps between the two, the real and the virtual
That's absolutely right.
That's absolutely right.
But you also when I think it's important to recall that These technologies are all exponential.
They're all digital.
They're all doubling in performance power every 18 months cost.
And so as you start to think about that, you realize that the advent of digital reality and and augmented reality is upon us and so we start incorporating some of those things into the art sort of virtual work toolkit.
Some of that will get remediate.
And it will be a much more interesting and exciting way to operate.
I still believe it'll be paramount that organizations rethink work take advantage of these tools correctly.
And so some of it means teams, deciding Hey, we're gonna be physically, we're gonna be videoing with each other during these hours of the day.
And we'll be doing a synchronous work separately in collaboration platform all by yourself during these hours of the day.
Because you can't continuously work on a video conference all day.
So, it's kind of like day partying the work day, kinda like a TV or radio station does, we do this in the morning, we do this in the afternoon.
That other bit of that ethics, so because we know we don't do that today, the workday is from start to finish, and it's just a basket of stuff.
But you're talking about perhaps facing the day saying these are the two or three lobes of the day and what to expect from them.>> Absolutely, and team leaders should be the ones who are sorting that based on the workflow and the meet of the team.
Maybe it's a morning together in an evening together in the middle of the day.
You're sort of, asynchronously working by yourself.
It also varies depending upon the kind of work that you're doing.
So sometimes it you know, you need to be together physically for some sort of creative process, let's say.
And so the workplace will sort for having a lab like environment for that creative work and then the rest of the month you perhaps can be working Virtually and then the team leader needs to sort the flow of work against the phasing you just described.
That level of reimagining work and reimagining work on the tools that we now have to use.
We still haven't done and so I think that's the next step of what we're starting to see organizations.
Consider They wake up to the fact that they can't everybody back to the office, they realize they have to do things like that in order to keep their distributed workforce productive.
So as I hear you describe this, it sounds more like you're trying to wake up business to say, look, it's not just a matter of trying to bring back as much as you can and deal with the rest.
It's a reimagine ation Videos relatively, at least partly clean sheet.
I would say in some ways it's very clean sheet, right.
So, and we were seeing some of this pre COVID.
So with the advent of the cognitive toolkits that were emerging and with a certain degree of automation happening across every sector No matter whether it was a white collar worker or blue collar workers, if you think about the car manufacturers that were bringing robotics to life within their, within their production line that enables a different layer of reimagining work and in the world of COVID it actually enables a certain degree of psychological safety and social distance.
So in a production line, where there's more robotics and more IoT, it's possible for fewer workers to be on that production line.
And that can be a way to create greater social distancing practices that will now be critical, given what's happening around COVID and what OSHA has been able to tell us and so on.
More reimagination will happen at pace.
Yeah, it was beginning prior and now the the demonstration effect of that is clear the need we can do this virtually so how do we make it work?
The demonstration effect is powerful right everyone who was a doubter or didn't have a fire lit under them to reimagine work, suddenly got a crash course in it.
We're seeing it in terms of the geek worker and the digital worker.
In the past, those workers were harder to bring to the table because the organizations couldn't see how to do that.
And currently, now it's clear if your geek worker was part of your team, it will be another face on the screen right now.
And so the thought of maybe it's better to have a certain amount of Flexible Capacity within our workforce workers we tap into when we need don't need is more viable in a world where you're trying to create resilience thanks to COVID.>> That's Steve you're talking about gig work, remote work things that to a lot of workers and I think to the population in general have always had this kind of stink of second classiness about them.
Do you really think those are gonna wash away and gig and remote work suddenly get a bit of a promotion to true legitimacy?
We were seeing that work from home as a perk, right only about 4% of the US workforce or from home in a substantive way.
And for those organizations that have worked from home policies, We are seeing some interesting data points,that 70% of those people who work from home felt they were more productive at home.
Organizations that had solid work from home policies were three times more likely to have women in leadership position.
So the timeline was progressing against the idea that this is not a second class style of work.
This is actually a useful way to get the talent that you need when you need them.
And so gig became a platform for finding that level of expertise.
Work From Home policies became a platform for Enabling them, working parents to deal with, for example, sort of their personal situations at home.
So, depending upon the types of skills that you need for your teams in the work that they're doing, you'll seek that level of expertise.
I think that it will continue in couple of fashions.
So one is, in the initial Initial creation of the gig economy.
Most people associated that with things like TaskRabbit and an Amazon Flex and Uber, right?
So it was more producing an outcome to creating a task with delivering on something.
Whereas As it progressed, now it's more Topcoder\g and Kaggle\g and Upwork\g.
And these organizations where they hire\g knowledge workers to deliver on a piece of code or a marketing strategy or a video or some design on a particular product or whatever it might be, and now you can tap into that economy.
Those workers as you need them for when it is that moment in the workflow without particular level of expertise is required.
A lot of people are going to hear this and I think say, Wow, it sounds like less secure work in the future.
For a lot of people in gig work at the very time that we're trying to re instill security in our perception of employment.
Do you see a a friction there is one of the concerns.
I mean, I think that it's really important that we don't turn a blind eye to a couple of different societal factors.
So first of all, you know, creating the right financial and security for people and secondly, the digital divide that certainly does exist and will get exacerbated.
So making sure that You know, everyone has access to broadband and that we're, you know, we're teaching people how to get access to these tools and take advantage of them.
Often we think of gig work as white collar knowledge work or attacks.
But often, these digital platforms have created all kinds of different permutations.
So, you know, Etsy is an artisanal community.
Individuals who do things that they're passionate about creating, and it creates a digital marketplace for them to actually have small businesses.
So there's a variety of different permutations that I think this will enable.
And it's up to us to sort of nudge those in the direction that we want.
It's the future we create.
Here's what we choose
How will we as large organizations change the way we measure our productivity?
It's gonna be different now when we talk about remote when we talk about different kinds of teams when we talk about gig working, how do we know if we're managing well as a manager in the future Yeah, it is a great question so organizations think about what they begin to realize that it's actually about organizing a team on a particular work outcome, what customer experience you're trying to create, what level of financial analysis you're trying to create, what is the design of the product you're trying to create.
And that outcome Comes the way in which the team is organized.
So today, if you're asking people well what tasks are you doing in the morning and then checking in with them in the evening as they do those tasks?
That's actually not enabling you to understand if the outcome you're trying to create is actually being created.
Whereas if you're checking in with your team to understand how they're progressing against creating that deliverable, and you're working with them, to mentor them and coach them or provide insight or tested or connect dots on the others that can help bring insight to what they're trying to get done.
They grow and learn the process, the outcome is better, and the deliverable is better.
The other factor that's now also in play is that it's possible using ordered network analysis to pay attention to the passive data that's being collected as we're all on these tools to then understand, if you will, who within the organization is the .connector, who is how are the teams actually functioning together?
And there's some discussion about whether the that should be part and parcel of how leaders are taking advantage of that information in order to manage these teams at scale.
Unfortunately, there's a bit of a creepy factor with some of that.
[LAUGH] Yeah, a bit.
So it I don't know where it's going to head as of yet.
But it's important to recognize that as these tools become more pervasive, they actually give us.
Some different capabilities that we could use in order to benefit but more broadly speaking, how your organisation is functioning.
It's interesting what you're talking about There really does have a parallel in the medical world where so many connected health devices are arriving to attach all manner of sensors To us, as well as pull signals from everything like our communications or media habits or social media behaviors and say, Look, the data is there to create a much more insightful future looking trend line of how you're gonna thrive in terms of health.
There are a lot of signals out there about how I thrive as a worker that aren't being listened to right now, right?
Precisely and that's a really terrific example.
So if you took advantage of those different technologies, those different data sets, if you're an organization whose employees Trust you to do the right thing, right back to that trust issue, then why wouldn't you allow them to use that to create a better worker experience?
Right a better experience for you in terms of how you're getting what you need in order to be a smart.
Part of your job or how you're getting cared for in terms of your wellness at work, mindfulness back to the discussion we had earlier about too much time on zoom is going to exhaust you.
It is possible to give people behavioral nudges that will enable them to be better at working remotely and virtually and to give Data sets to the organizational leaders.
So they understand how their chains are all functioning against the work that's being done.
And I think that as we start to take advantage of that more and more.
As we see it parallel in medicine.
Well, why not bring those technologies to improve performance and human performance in the workplace.
Alright everyone, I think it's pretty clear, as we go back to work, in this country, and around the world.
We're just not going back to the old work.
We're going back to the future of it.
Steve Hatfield is Deloitte leader of their global future of work project.
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