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  • Writer's pictureBalaji Pasumarthy

The Pandemic is demanding a rethink about work.


"Work isn’t just our livelihood. It can be a source of structure, belonging and meaning in our lives. But that doesn’t mean our jobs should dictate how we spend most of our waking hours. For several generations, we’ve organized our lives around our work. Our jobs have determined where we make our homes, when we see our families and what we can squeeze in during our downtime. It might be time to start planning our work around our lives." Thus concludes Adam Grant in this WSJ article, in which he shares several reflections on how we work and the meaning of work.

This article reflects the importance and significance of many of the ideas and practices that we actively engage with at LEC, especially in a post-pandemic world. To understand how, let us first go over some trends that Adam Grant mentions in the article:

1) "Flexibility is now the fastest-rising job priority in the U.S."

2) Millennials are "less concerned about net worth than net freedom."

3) Remote work has a downside: "Once everyone was reachable around the clock, collaboration overload only got worse."

4) "Zoom fatigue is real." 5) Remote workers, despite being more productive, are less likely to be promoted. This is most likely because of their reduced face time with senior managers. "Many managers mistake visibility for value and reward presence instead of performance."

6) "When people have the flexibility to work less, they often focus better and produce more."


Suggestions he provides: 1) "We need boundaries to protect individual focus time too. On remote teams, it’s not the frequency of interaction that fuels productivity and creativity—it’s the intensity of interaction. . . . The most effective and innovative teams didn’t communicate every hour. They’d spend several hours or days concentrating on their own work and then start communicating in bursts."

2) "To give people the freedom to learn, we need to work harder to open doors. . . . Just three or four virtual meetings with senior managers was enough to open the door to learning, mentoring and trust."

3) Let's stop "confusing time spent with value created."


The bottom line can be summed up in this one statement - "Flexible work is here to stay, but companies that resist it may not be." There are several MINDSETS and METHODs we practice in LEC that is incredibly relevant to the reflections found in the article.

MINDSETS:

1) Provide team members freedom to choose what they work on, whom they work with, how they work and when they work.

2) Focus on outcomes and results rather than time spent. There are many examples of LEC participants doing away with attendance etc. and subsequently seeing an increase in productivity.

3) Psychological Safety is the key factor for creating high performance teams.

4) Start from trust and believe in your team members to deliver results, and they will.


METHODS:

1) Team meetings with an agenda that provides space for each person to be fully present and to participate fully.

2) Work Sculpting, which helps a team member align their work to their passions and skills and whats really needed by the business, thus creating a deeper sense of personal meaning with work.


We in the LEC community can go forward with confidence into this new era of work, knowing that we are already learning and implementing the practices that are required to thrive in this new normal.

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