You’ve probably heard many arguments for and against people working from home – and they are usually about productivity, collaboration, innovation, or learning and mentoring opportunities. But the critical factor that makes this work is something else: Trust.
After three years of the global pandemic, we’re finally seeing things starting to return to how they were pre-COVID. However, not everything is the same, especially when it comes to the role of the office.
For many knowledge workers, the office used to be their only workplace. But now, they want a choice of where to work – the office, home, a cafe, or a co-working space. This is what we call hybrid work, and it’s interesting to see the different responses to it from leaders and organisations.
Some completely resist it, like the CEO of one of Australia’s biggest companies who recently said, “If you want to work from home, then you don’t work for us.”
On the other end of the spectrum, one of my clients – another large company in Australia – has just built a brand new office in Perth’s city centre, but isn’t trying to drag people back into the office.
Instead, when they designed their new office building, they asked, “How can we make the commute worthwhile?” So they designed the office to be a place people want to go to, to collaborate, discuss, and meet other people.
This is all about trust. As the leader in charge of the project said, “We trust our people. They know what they have to achieve, and we’ll give them the tools, resources, and support they need. We trust them to achieve those goals, and it doesn’t matter where that happens.”
In fact, their standard rules are that people are expected to work from home on Mondays and Fridays. This is quite counterintuitive, isn’t it? Most organisations want their employees back in the office on those days because they don’t trust them to be fully productive from home.
What about YOU? Do you trust your people? It’s easy to say that you do, but do you really?
Download my worksheet with some examples of high-stake trust situations, and ask yourself – honestly – how you would act. If you’re brave enough, share it with your team and ask them what they would like you to do in those situations. You might be surprised by some of the results.