The Era of Blood, Sweat and Tears that Triggered the Great Resignation — (Part 2. The Future of Work)
In part one of ‘The Era of Blood, Sweat and Tears that Triggered the Great Resignation’, we looked at a system overworked and lives under-lived. <Read here>
The Covid-19 Pandemic triggered an epiphany that held up a mirror, forcing us to see the unpredictability and impermanence of life. It forced us to reflect on what really matters beneath the layers of a paycheck. Beneath the layers of a life overconsumed, overworked and under-lived. Many realised it’s not work, or at least, not their present work. Many realised its not possessions either, having had to make do with a scaled-back version of their lives. The Great Resignation has left an opening far larger than jobs now needing to be filled. It has created an opening to reinvent the nature of how we work, paired with a new perspective on motivating productivity, growth, development, success, and personal fulfilment. An opening that has pushed us into the greatest reevaluation of our lives.
What Will Matter Most
While many companies have shifted gears to amp up increments and bonuses, this merely brushes the surface. Many have picked up on the trend of giving their people time off for mental rest and recovery. Some provide coupons for food delivery, and others offer extended sabbaticals after a specific time served. “At Intel, Oregon’s largest private-sector employer, employees can either take a four-week sabbatical after four years or wait and take an eight-week sabbatical after seven years. The company also began offering an additional 12 hours off for each half of 2021.” These benefits may seem enticing but fall short when looking at the whole picture. If a company is to survive the great resignation, it must ‘deep dive’ into an employee’s mind and see what they really want. Flexibility is the term. The sort of flexibility that extends well outside of where and when an employee works. The type of flexibility that does not restrict the level of benefit or care an employee is permitted based on time served.
Companies must realise this: employees are tired of living in a system of life that feels policed and imprisoned. They long for freedom. Many are grieving and need a better reason to return to work every Monday. They need extreme flexibility and leaders who understand this.
Challenges and The Future of Work
Growing trends will tell us that the future of work rests along the boundary of a hybrid model, but this is more than switching on your computer screens from wherever you work. Many companies have adopted a complete remote model from the pandemic’s start. In addition, some companies have opted for a blended model, ‘hybrid work.’ At the same time, many continue to battle with getting people back into the office. On the other hand, some employees find remote or hybrid work challenging to share their ideas and contribute, feeling isolated and forgotten.
The challenges of entering a hybrid world of work aren’t easily calculated, nor is it equal. Employers will undoubtedly have their unique challenges to iron out and codify a plan on twelve months of data.
This decision-making process will require a transcendent shift in how we think and do to meet the requirements of what people need to live their lives and balance their work. Not the other way around. Therefore, the plan to empower extreme flexibility must also be flexible as it addresses policies, physical space, personal space, health, well-being, technology, and digital exhaustion.
Statistics from the 2021 Work Trend Index show that 60% of GENZ feel as though they’re merely surviving or flat out struggling to keep up. Black and U.S Latino workers face bigger challenges building relationships virtually and find it limiting to bring their authentic selves to online work.
We must understand that with any form of virtual work, the risk of shrinking networks become a very real problem. This means people will be less inclined to interact with their co-workers when they are out of sight. This becomes a challenge because it stifles innovation. We need collaboration to activate innovation and bounce ideas.
Redesigning Flexibility for ‘Extreme Flexibility’
Redesigning the workspace to enable ‘extreme flexibility will require thinking outside a traditional work framework. It will require connecting it into people’s lives. This means considering what can potentially stall or stop progress. It will require taking the physical world and packaging it to be accessible for anyone, anywhere. Getting this right will define how well people connect not only with their jobs but with themselves and the lives around them.
Setting it up
Setting up a hybrid framework for people along all hierarchies to interact, be fully supported and be given authentic opportunities to share, create, and engage means employers must be interested in what their people need to support their lives and work. Therefore, social capital, cross-team collaboration and spontaneous idea-sharing must be prioritised strategically. As well as recognising the importance of the ‘remote support system’ for employees to thrive from anywhere. This has been a big struggle for the most part, as many companies dug their heels into the ground and refused to assume responsibility for the life of work requirements off-site.
The mather of the fact is, employers who fail to get past the status quo will miss an incredible opportunity to be the leaders and firsts of the future.
Aligning and setting up the future is more than simply saying the future of work is hybrid. It’s also recognising the challenges that exists and the healing required. How work is set-up to run today is being challenged and for good reason — it is flawed and underserving of the people whose lives it impacts. Getting past this is step one. Step two remains to bridge the gaps or build an entirely new bridge for which people can thrive in their overall lives. Step three will greatly need the support of coaches and mentors to supplement culture and policy changes and help people figure out what they need as many are in search for this new meaning. This is a task that HR alone will struggle to reinvent and will depend on fresh ideas to unearth decades of old policy. Employers have a unique opportunity here to extend support in a new dimension that promotes healing, discovery, promise and community.
In The End
As we look to the future of work and humanity, we must factor in the real lives of people who work for us. We must remove the elements of our opinion and start listening to understand. The way we once looked at work-life will never be the same. We may not have it all figured out on what’s next, but one thing is certain, people are acutely aware of what they will not return to or tolerate.
— Bio, Nerissa J. Persaud
From Global Hospitality Recruiter to leading a conversation on rising above burnout. Nerissa J. Persaud is a Guyanese-Canadian Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Ignite The Human Spark. She is the Podcast Host of Mindset Bootcamp, Editor-In-Chief of M.O.C.A and Author of the upcoming book ‘Rise Above Burnout.’ Her work entails strategic workforce planning and helping people globally live and work better through her signature coaching program High Powered Mindset™
Follow the RISE ABOVE BURNOUT movement on LinkedIn. / 💜 Check out more on Ignite The Human Spark
To follow more of the inspiration check out the Mindset Bootcamp podcast with Nerissa J. Persaud. Listen here on Spotify or anywhere you enjoy podcasts.