A structure under stress. How will work patterns change as the economy rebuilds?

In a session last week, the question was raised as to the need for many companies, across all sectors, to really take a step back and consider how could work patterns be altered in order to improve productivity and the engagement of teams. Covid maybe has highlighted the “work from home” appetite but this was building long before the pandemic. The issues have long been known by leaders and employers for a number of years but the question is – what can be done differently?

Often leadership teams are held to account but the simple truth is that the traditional system was no longer effective and was in need for evolution.

In a recent article, a senior City professional was talking about how he struggles with understanding why emerging professionals do not possess the hunger to work the long hours today but the truth is that long hours today are very different to long hours in 1990-95. There was no email traffic. The Internet was just being founded. Most senior execs had secretaries and still wrote letters.

It was a very different world and the system has only become faster, more intense and pressurised over the years. The long lunches have gone. Relationships had become less important. Process and audits became more intense as has transparency. It is a different world and yet the system has not changed. It is struggling and failing.

It is quite right that questions are asked today as to what can be changed? The answers need to come from within each business and by leaders engaging on the subject with experts to answer the tough questions – how can productivity be improved? How can we make sure cultures are stronger and more match fit for today’s challenges?

It will ask leaders and HR professionals to think differently; to create new answers which can once again free up talent. There has been so much open discussion about the lack of trust in business, the lack of accountability, of emerging talents breaking through and the high levels of disengagement; it is clear that change is much needed but what does it look like?