The New Abnormal
(This document is publicly read-only, but if you would like to contribute then please request edit access. There is a twitter thread that led to its creation here. Matt wrote a short blog about it here.)
* What will the world of work look like as the current wave of Covid-19-related lockdown starts to lift?
* What can organisations learn from their people about the experiences of enforced, mass remote working?
* What do people value in these new ways of working that they have rapidly discovered?
* What do they miss? What do they want to have back?
* What will they do differently when we are able to start to congregate in workplaces again?
This is a place for sharing ideas across organisations and sectors, initially with a view to creating research survey materials that can be used by different organisations, with a view to sharing knowledge and insight across many.
A summary framework:
People involved: (MB - I’ve taken out email addresses from this to make the doc public, but feel free to add them back in)
Matt Ballantine - Head of Technology and Transformation, RHP ([email protected] http://twitter.com/ballantine70)
Sharon O’Dea - freelance consultant. / sharonodea.co.uk / @sharonodea (been working with intranets/digital workplace for 15 ish years, mostly with larger/more complex organisations, particularly banks).
Cary Corse - Freelance DevOps Engineer,, https://www.linkedin.com/in/cary-corse-48141875/
Roy Brooks - Member gildedsplinters.coop current project: Sprygg.io (and now virtual iteration of same - developing ‘enhanced’ virtual collaboration) and others similar
Malcolm Ballantine - Retired Organizational Psychologist; Chair of Trustees, The Bayswater Institute -
Simon Leyland - Digital Workplace Consultant t @simonleyland currently on multiple global projects involving: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Office365 and property projects in the UK and US
Dan Hayes - Innovation Catalyst - Trivallis (Housing Association managing around 10,000 homes in South Wales). Interested in the future of work; capturing and sharing learning. / @DanJHayes
Laurence Molloy - Freelance Data Scientist, IT & EduTech Consultant. Former Head of IT @ a tech startup / @MolloyLaurence
Dave Floyd @DaveAFloyd Change person / co-starter upper @Perago interested in ways of working, remote working, closer to home, local and circular economies and how to best support them #killthecommute and all that jazz
Jonathan Greensted @jonathang - technologist who’s passionate about delivering perfect customer experience, transforming data capabilities and revolutionising risk management for leading FTSE and PE organisations, including Avis Budget, Travelodge and Rank Group plc.
Polly Thompson @pollyrt IT director at Valleys to Coast Housing
Holly Marriott [email protected] freelance remote consultant. Interested in the future of work and facilitating change in remote working.
Questions we are interested in:
How can organisations capture insight from employees about their experiences at the moment to shape how we make changes happen in the future?
Sharon O: and how can we capture those views from employees at the sharp end rather than mediated through employers, who may not fully appreciate/understand the challenges as experienced at the front line
JonathanG - ask them! Simple SurveyMonkey.
Polly T: We’ve shared a google form asking for feedback about experiences.
There’s a great conversation around learning happening prompted by this post.
Dan H: We’re proposing a series of conversations with leadership, retrospectives with teams and a survey when our staff who are on furlough return to work. I like this (via here):
Is part of why things seem to be working OK (an assumption) at the moment as a result of everyone being in the same boat? Will a mix of in-office and virtual make things harder again in the future?
SimonL - We’ve certainly had feedback that all virtual meetings have helped in a team I’m working in. 50% of team members are in London and 50% rest of the world and the rest of the world feedback has been that they feel they are no longer missing out on ad hoc conversations/meetings as much. I say as much as the London team still holds a virtual social coffee session every morning.
SimonL - on a slightly different note - I've also had feedback that working virtually has neutralised the undue influence of a room for remote participants where they find it hard to hear/see and contribute.
MattB - yes, I’m convinced that:
Everyone in the same room >
Everyone individually >
Some people in a room and some people individually remote.
That last case is worst scenario, but how most orgs have been operating for the last 10 years. See: https://mmitii.mattballantine.com/2020/04/03/one-to-one-to-one-to/
SharonO - Is part of working-ok-for-now due to being focused on keeping the car on the road? People have work/clear roles/etc that they have taken home. Will the cracks show as that starts to run down and they need to do longer term planning?
MattB - And also teams who already knew each other. What happens as new employees start to join?
SharonO - or old ones get bored/experience problems. The war analogy is overused in relation to the Coronavirus crisis, but I’m reminded of the description of wars as “long periods of boredom, punctuated by terror”. We’ve getting beyond the novelty and into the boredom now. What do orgs do when terror strikes?
RoyB - ownership/value & hierarchy. Virtual in hierarchical organisations (eg Mrs B school) forces 'management' to present in the same context - screen - and, critically, time as 'staff'. Removes them from environments - private office, assembly, that has been designed to enhance status. Opens everyone's work/contribution to concurrent, public scrutiny. Interesting to see if/how lost authority will/can be 'recovered' both in virtual and real post lockdown
Dan H - what we’re doing now isn’t a true reflection of what remote working will be when it becomes a choice. All this has done is forced people who didn’t have the option before to see the positives and negatives[a].
What is productivity in a knowledge-based business/knowledge-based work? If we can’t measure it, should we look for proxies, or redefine into other outcomes (customer/employee satisfaction and engagement for example)?
DaveF - mentioned below before reading this, I've recently been working with a client that have implemented ROWE.
Just catching up with Peter K and I can’t help but think that organizations will still need measures for staff, ‘new’ methods for managing staff performance. OKRs would seem a logic step for a lot of organisations with knowledge-based work?
Dan H - I’d like my organisation to move towards using OKRs as they are agreed with teams, constantly reviewed and use different metrics to deliver objectives.
How do we prepare for Hokie-Cokie lockdown (in-out-in-out…)?
SimonL - Slowly and cautiously, for businesses dominated by information workers there is no need to start the drive back to the office. Most sensible businesses are projecting Covid to be with us for at least 12 - 18 months. By de-prioritising information workers returning to the office, businesses can focus on those employees/business units which do require a physical presence.
Debate over touch panels outside meeting rooms being turned off is one of many discussions going on around new working practises. Microsoft Teams and Zoom panels also.
MattB - also - chatting with my org’s Head of Facilities today
* there is likely to be a low top limit on number of people who can be in any particular physical space
* And they will then be limited to 2m distance - so you’ll go into an office and not be able to work with anyone else anyway
* Also, our offices are in mixed residential area and with everyone stuck at home, there’s no on street parking anywhere near our offices during the day.
SharonO - a recession is inevitable, it seems, so many orgs will see the opportunity amongst the challenge and look to reduce costs on office space. How can we ensure that’s done smartly - giving people the right spaces to do work effectively (and safely) rather than driven purely by cost reduction?
Dan H - When we return to the ‘new normal’ our offices would benefit from having hardware in meeting rooms to facilitate meetings where some attendees are in the same room and others are remote.
What will we need offices for in the future?
SimonL - It may/should accelerate the move from Desk/Cubicle and Meeting space to a more collaborative/event type office. A current project is projecting a floorspace of 40% desks, 30% collaborative areas, 30% meeting rooms. They are already starting to analyse if they can reduce the desk percentage further. This would also skew the type of office from the standard working office to making the location somewhere where people/clients/partners may go on an ad hoc basis
LaurenceM - There’s gonna be a lot of office reconfiguration amongst the more forward thinking organisations to transition the usage of their office space to be more in-keeping with agile working and possible new H&S rules. If minimum floor space per employee has to rise both in short and long term that may not create a need for more office space if the org moves to a more agile arrangement with its staff, based around hosting only a percentage of staff on site at any given time. My other half has been working from home for the past year precisely because her employer has been moving towards a hot-desking arrangement. Question is… what will the ideal office configuration look like?
DaveF - shift of space to co-working spaces, possibly situated in close proximity to public