Redesigning How We Work | Harvard Business Review

Leadership & Culture

Last week, I made a post about an article highlighting how a segment of firms (e.g., Amazon, Disney, Starbucks, etc.) is increasing the number of days they require workers to be in the office. The author mentioned one reason firms are increasing the number of mandatory in-office days is: as economic uncertainty looms, and companies axe jobs on a wide scale, the power dynamic is swinging back towards employers: many may be using the downturn as an opportunity to enforce or overhaul their working practices. I mentioned how these decisions could come with unforeseen risks, especially when not made with intention and without considering the range of factors that influence these decisions. In this new HBR article, the author notes: “Many of us assumed that by now, years into the pandemic, we’d have settled on new structures, practices, and processes for hybrid work. But we haven’t. Instead, most companies are stuck in a transitional phase, where little is resolved. Why is it taking us so long to work this out?” One answer provided is that hybrid work isn’t simply about determining whether everybody should return to the office full-time. It’s also forcing us to test long-held assumptions about how work should be done and what it even is. As leaders continue to challenge their beliefs about work and determine its implications for hybrid work arrangements, the article raises four fundamental questions to consider, such as: what are our overarching values and principles? What isn’t working, and what problems are we trying to solve? Other ideas are discussed.