HRHeadStart #3: Hybrid Work; Collaboration Challenges; Leveraging Boredom; Networking Skills
The Talent Agenda
There is so much chatter about hybrid work and it seems a great many companies envisage that the days of 5-day office work are over. Many of them are designing policies around a mix of onsite and remote working arrangements. Now, if you might find yourself involved or listening in on such discussions, the best way to add value is to share evidence-informed opinions. Humu is an interesting insights and behavioural change company and their recent research suggests that peak performance is reached when employees work 1-2 days a week from home and the remaining days in the office. In fact, their data suggests that when employees work from home 3 or more days a week, the performance plateaus and then starts declining. You can also check out this article which can help you think about different work models and their suitability for different types of jobs.
Team Effectiveness is an evergreen topic and those of you who focus on Organization Development will be called to design and deliver team effectiveness interventions at some point in your careers. In a recent article from the MIT Sloan Management Review, the authors used a technique called Organizational Network Analysis** to understand patterns of connectivity in organisational networks and collaboration dysfunctions. If you have 15-20 minutes to deep-dive, read the entire piece or if you only have 5 minutes, check out the summary.
** Organisational Network Analysis is a technique to understand and visualize the different nodes (people/teams) in an organization, how they communicate and exchange information. For an introduction, head here.
We pick up our phones a few hundred times a day (or more!). And most of the times, we do so to kill "micro-boredom" i.e. tiny bits of time where we literally don't know what to do and the phone seems like a nice distraction. In the process, we are all developing a habit to fill up all of our time. So, what space are we affording for thinking deeply and creatively for things that matter to us? Boredom is not a problem to be solved, but the last privilege of a free mind. Lean into free time and make the most of it - you will come out of it with a better understanding of yourself and the world around you.
A Productive Workout
A workout is a great way to create mindspace for processing and learning new ideas. And it primes you for creative thinking. For your next walk, run or workout session, take along Adam Grant from Wharton to learn about how to get better at networking. Admittedly, I struggled with networking early on in my career. I realized that networking, as widely practiced, is largely transactional and that's what frustrated me the most. But, it is actually all about giving, rather than expecting to get something. Be generous with your time, energy and expertise to build deeper relationships. Grant has put together a helpful set of questions to help you reflect on how you network.
We should not treat others how we expect to be treated by them, but instead how they expect to be treated. Make an effort to understand people and where they are coming from. You will likely end up with a very meaningful and helpful network.