The pandemic wasn’t a friend to anyone. However, it did stimulate a huge shift in behaviour that, temporarily at least, made a positive impact on the environment. It forced us to find new ways of carrying out our work. Ways that meant we weren’t piling into cars, clogging up our roads, and squeezing into overcrowded, poorly ventilated trains. Air travel plummeted, in a good way. How many roads do we really need to travel when there is a viable alternative at our disposal?
Out of Step?
Recently a high-ranking government minister hit the news. He’d been engaging in a passive aggressive exercise by leaving sarcastic notes on staff desks. The notes indicated that he would prefer to see them sitting at their desks rather than working from home. He isn’t the first manager to be out of step with the prevailing mood. The evidence is becoming clear. According to recent report published in the McKinsey Quarterly, 85 percent of employees who currently work in a hybrid model, want to continue doing so. Fully remote or hybrid working patterns are not only desirable from a productivity and lifestyle point of view. They also have a hugely positive impact on the climate and on employee wellbeing. Managers who fail to see this, do so wilfully because they are unable to adjust their management style.
When I moved into the world of corporate learning, one of the first management concepts I was introduced to was Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y. It’s a model that describes how a manager’s style of management is influenced by their understanding of what motivates their people. According to McGregor, Theory X assumes that team members dislike work and will find any reason they can to avoid it. Theory Y, on the other hand, assumes that team members are self-motivated, engaged, and take pride in their work. It strikes me, that many leaders who are calling for people to return to the office may have explicit or underlying Theory X leanings. If they didn’t trust their staff when they were in the office, there’s little chance that they will trust them when they are working from home.
Remote working certainly has its challenges. But the opportunities it presents are so vast, that we owe it to ourselves and to the world we inhabit, to make it work. That means creating new ways for teams to engage meaningfully in virtual spaces. And it means re-educating our leaders to manage from a distance and feel comfortable doing so.
Our contribution to this seismic shift is Muster. It is a multiplayer online toolkit that delivers powerful team development. It’s the first of its kind. And it plays a vital role in reconnecting teams, stimulating high levels of engagement and productivity, and making teams great even if they are remotely located.
So how many roads do we need to travel? A lot fewer than we used to. That has to be worth something.