One of the many, many disruptions in today’s society is the new phenomenon of ‘work from home’. The traditional model leveraged the natural human behavior to associate in cliques, extended families and tribes. Coming to a common workplace emulated these natural behaviors. The political structure also fit into a tribal model where a few members were recognized as leaders (Managers). Virtually all workplaces had a tree-like structure that distributed tasks and functions under the guidance of the managers.
Thanks to the interruption of the Pandemic, which forced lockdown, and the new power of the Internet and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which eliminated many human tasks, people suddenly found themselves at home all day. The natural tribal environment was gone; the social benefits of human gathering was gone; the ability to oversee policy and function was greatly weakened.
The opportunity to work from home became a benefit for many workers. Salary and benefits were no longer limited to financial criteria and working conditions; suddenly a major benefit included whether one could work from home.
Aside from large empty office buildings, which were a massive financial overhead, businesses also felt the negative impact of dispersed workers who were not in a controlled environment. ‘Work at home’ still distorts the statistics on employment versus unemployed and is a new headache for service oriented businesses.
This issue is a new phenomenon. Managers haven’t been trained in management techniques for isolated workers. Below is an interview with a personnel manager who proposes methods to optimize the modern workforce:
Being interviewed by Protocol Braintrust (on-line news service), Julia Anas, Chief People Officer at Qualtrics, Made good recommendations:
“When evolving culture, especially in a virtual environment, there are key actions leaders should take.
“Identify your core values and the impact you want to have on the world, unifying your employees — from executives to individual contributors — around these values. At Qualtrics, we call these TACOS: Transparency, All in, Customer obsessed, One team and Scrappy.
“Pair experience data — what your employees are thinking and feeling — with operational data — how they are performing — to design and continuously improve work experiences.
“Be purposeful in how you connect with your employees and what works for them.
“Lead with empathy. Employees want to feel a sense of belonging and connection with the people they work with, and it’s critical for leaders to foster a culture that prioritizes listening, understanding and meeting people where they are.”
Organizing a workplace using empathy and other sociological values is a new phenomenon. Tribal structures are missing and must be replaced with a new worker-centered philosophy. Employees who make good managers may have to be less authoritative and more conciliatory in their methods.
We will watch how this ‘evolving culture’ emerges.