Working methods are in turmoil. The global pandemic sped up the adoption of digital technologies, and now the challenge is in figuring out the new working practices of a post-covid world. Lindström’s Senior Vice President, Human Resources Selina Justén ponders the challenges companies are facing worldwide.
Has the world of work changed permanently?
Every so often, something profound happens to the way we work. There has been the industrial revolution and the introduction of electricity, and one of the key events that has changed the current way we work is the digital revolution enabled by the invention of internet.
However, COVID-19 is most likely the biggest experiment in the whole history of work. The pandemic drastically sped up the adoption of digital technologies, and in doing so, permanently changed people’s attitudes towards the physical workplace and perhaps also worktime itself. I also believe our thinking has changed: we no longer think about work as something done in a physical office and in-person in a set space. With the introduction of the virtual office and remote work environment, we are now facing something new, and we need to design this new ‘hybrid environment’ together. The entirety of working culture is changing.
For sure, this is a relevant topic for companies around the world – including us here at Lindström. Finding and supporting both in-office and remote work in the right way will be critical to our success across the Lindström countries. In addition, we need to consider the people who have not been able to work remotely, the people who have kept our operations running by making personal sacrifices. Hopefully all learnings from the pandemic and planning of the future hybrid environment will make us explore more flexible options for all Lindstromers.
Making the most out of office time
The opportunity to reinvent working practices does not come often. Sure, it is difficult as you need to include in the equation the company culture and values, the jobs and tasks at hand while understanding individual needs – and the purpose of offices. I feel that we have a golden opportunity to reinvent things together.
According to neuroscience, being physically together helps us to interpret one another better, making it easier to build lasting relationships. Face-to-face meetings allows us to build empathy and emotional connection and observe non-verbal cues. These human moments make us feel energised and lead to commitment and cooperation. Offices therefore foster human moments and encourage cooperation and creativity.
At Lindström, our We Care culture is built on interaction, on encountering people and on building relationships with them – both internally and externally with our customers. Our culture is built on these moments of caring, on people meeting people, and this is now challenged by the lack of in-person connections. But even culture itself does evolve.
Going forward, we need to understand how to cherish these moments of interaction and what the critical factors of everyone’s jobs are – and how these factors are affected by hybrid work arrangements, where place (where you work from) and time (when you work) can vary – are the keys to future success at workplaces.
We can do this together
Even though we all face the same situation, the hybrid work arrangement can differ significantly from company to company. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all model, which means that we need to navigate our own ways forward. But herein also lies a great opportunity forward: we have a chance to forge a bold new approach for the future.
Management is in a key role when introducing new practices to work. They need to be on the same page, to ensure that the practices introduced are fair for all. Different departments and even teams can at times allow different degrees of flexibility, which can create feelings of unfairness – what are the key guidelines that we all should follow? And of course, changing existing habits is a challenge for sure, which will take some time to tackle.
However, this cannot be done by the management or leaders of a company alone – this is a topic for all Lindstromers. We need to collaborate on this and embark on this journey together. We need to openly discuss how this may impact our culture and how we can support both company and individual needs in an equitable manner.