New HBR Article: How to Do Hybrid Right

Since the pandemic, companies have adopted the technologies of virtual work remarkably quickly—and employees are seeing the advantages of more flexibility in where and when they work. As leaders recognise what is possible, they are embracing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset work using a hybrid model.

To make this transition successfully, they’ll need to design hybrid work arrangements with individual human concerns in mind, not just institutional ones. That requires companies to approach the problem from four different perspectives: (1) jobs and tasks; (2) employee preferences; (3) projects and workflows; and (4) inclusion and fairness.

Leaders also need to conceptualise new work arrangements along two axes: place and time. Millions of workers around the world this year have made a sudden shift from being place-constrained (working in the office) to being place-unconstrained (working anywhere). Employees have also experienced a shift along the time axis, from working synchronously with others 9 to 5 to working asynchronously whenever they choose.

If leaders and managers can successfully make the transition to an anywhere, anytime model, the result will be work lives that are more purposeful and productive.

Read Lynda’s full article for HBR here.

New MIT Article: An Emerging Landscape of Skills for All

A year on from the start of the pandemic, many of us are pausing to reflect on the effect it has had on our lives and our work, and in particular, on the disruption and displacement of work across a number of industries. Job erosion and job evolution have both been accelerated by the pandemic, with many workers finding that existing jobs have changed dramatically in line with the ‘new normal’.

In a recent survey, 94% of business leaders said they expect their employees to keep up with this change by picking up new skills on the job (compared with 65% in 2018). But is on the job training enough to solve what some are calling a global jobs crisis? Prof. Lynda Gratton explores what a more considered approach might look like in her new article for MIT Sloan Management Review.

Read the article here.

Capita Podcast: Fostering Innovation

Lynda Gratton recently joined Ismail Amla and Vivek Wadhwa on the Capita podcast to discuss how we can use our learnings from the past year to foster innovation in the new world of work.

While much of the focus over the past year has been on how remote working impacts productivity, Lynda believes it is time to pay more attention to what it means for innovation – as well as the opportunities remote collaboration creates for empowering employees of all levels to contribute to organisational change.

Listen to the podcast episode here.

LBS Article: Time to Rethink Your Company Culture

Working remotely might mean greater autonomy and flexibility, but it also means no serendipitous connections in the office communal kitchen, no impromptu lunches or birthday celebrations. Many of the everyday rituals which helped us keep company culture alive, promoted collaboration and made work fun have disappeared – and few of us have the blueprint for recreating them.

Prof. Lynda Gratton believes that a collaborative workplace has four key ingredients: a culture based on trust and cooperation, diverse networks, productive capacity and a sense of purpose. Working remotely for an extended period has had a domino effect on each of these elements. The longer people spend working at home, the less likely they are to feel a sense of belonging at work. This has the effect of eroding collaborative culture, reducing trust and making conflict resolution more difficult.

Read this LBS article to find out more.

MIT Webinar: Optimising Productivity in a Time of Hybrid Work

Most of us are still experimenting with both time and place of work. We’re flexing around the 9-to-5 notion of work and synchronicity, and we’re flexing around the multiple locations we may find ourselves working in. How do we maintain productivity while adapting to this new flexibility?

In this on-demand webinar, MIT SMR author Lynda Gratton discusses her research into how companies are supporting the four pillars of productivity — energy, focus, coordination, and collaboration — during a time of hybrid work.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • How to make the office conducive to collaboration.
  • What can make the home office a source of energy.
  • How flexible time can enhance focus.
  • The ways you can be intentional about promoting productivity.

Watch the full webinar here.

MIT Article: Four Principles to Ensure Hybrid Work is Productive Work

Organisations have become more flexible about where and when employees work. Now they need to be more intentional about their choices and trade-offs.

The term ‘hybrid working’ is gaining popularity as a way of describing work in the post-pandemic world. But what does it mean? And do leaders really understand its implications?

Covid-19 has caused an unprecedented, and undoubtedly permanent, change in the way we work. Aspirations about post-pandemic ways of working range from “work from anywhere” to a full return to office-based work, with a whole range of fixed and flexible working arrangements in between. Yet it is important to remember that ways of working that started as a short-term solution may not serve the needs of a longer-term reality.

In this MIT SMR article, Prof. Lynda Gratton identifies four key principles to help leaders understand these longer-term needs and create a productive workplace.

Read the article here.

REBA Article: Three Principles for Fairness in Reward During COVID-19

As companies transition to a hybrid way of working, fairness is moving to the top of leaders’ agendas.

As organisations around the world contemplate the idea of returning to work, many have chosen to allay fears about safety by giving employees a choice about whether to return to office-based work and, if so, whether to do so on a full-time or part-time basis. However, our recent HSM research suggests that this has led to yet more anxiety about the unforeseen impact these decisions could have on career progression.

In a recent HSM webinar poll of 102 people from across 64 companies and 30 countries, 37% were worried about how promotion decisions would be made for those working from home, while 30% were concerned about how caring responsibilities would be factored into performance targets.

As we move to a hybrid way of working, it is becoming increasingly important for employers to reassure people that regardless of their circumstances or chosen ways of working they will be treated fairly when it comes to measuring their contributions and providing opportunities.

In a recent article for REBA, Prof. Lynda Gratton outlined a core framework that can help organisations achieve this.

Read the article here.

MIT Article: The Pandemic’s Lessons for Managing Uncertainty

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, old norms and habits we set aside have been replaced by new ones, which are now sufficiently embedded for us to pause and take stock. So, what have we learned? And how can we use those learnings to empower us over the coming months?

In her recent article for the MIT Sloan Management Review, Prof. Lynda Gratton focused on exactly this topic, by looking at the experiences of four organisations: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Vodafone, Arup, and Artemis Connection. Using their experiences as case studies, she was able to highlight four key areas that need exploring.

Read the article here.

Lynda’s New Book: The New Long Life launches

Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott’s new book, ‘The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World’ launches on Thursday 28 May. 

Smart new technologies. Longer, healthier lives. Human progress has risen to great heights, but at the same time it has prompted anxiety about where we’re heading. Are our jobs under threat? If we live to 100, will we ever really stop working? And how will this change the way we love, manage and learn from others?

One thing is clear: advances in technology and longevity have not been matched by supporting innovations to our social structures. In our era of unprecedented change, we haven’t yet discovered new ways of living and working and that’s creating a growing tension between our traditional patterns of behaviour and the world in which we live.

Read more here and pre-order the book on Amazon. 

Financial Times article: Coronavirus has transformed work but risks snuffing out a creative spark

In this article for the Financial Times, Lynda explores the lessons learnt during the pandemic: how digitally agile we are, undisturbed routine is key to productivity, and we miss the social interaction most of all. She details how these lessons learnt will impact and adapt our near future to drive change.

Read the full FT article here.