Over the last few weeks, we’ve taken a look at some big things – people, the economy, holding culture, work-life and cultural plasticity, mental health and wellbeing – and some personal thoughts and stories we’ve observed as humans at work and as humans simply on this earth right now.
We’ve had the full spectrum of emotions as humans, and a great deal of that has come from having some of our favourite things about work, interacting with humans, sharing the banter, a spontaneous joke – radically changed or removed.
But we’ve been pretty lucky. All of us, and we dare say all of you, know someone that’s had their work, or their health, impacted by this virus. It’s this impact on people that has been toughest.
So, this week, we thought we would keep it simple and get back to when the world changes, what stays the same.
What stays the same?
It seems the universe has aligned on this one. Almost 3 years to the day, the Happy Worker’s report was released in conjunction with BankWest Curtin Economics Centre, part of Curtin University.
It pointed out the things that make us most happy at work: Purpose (meaningful work that matters to someone), Relationships (people who work with), Agency (some freedom in how we approach our work) and Trust as foundational to it all.
That remains as relevant today as it did when released, and I dare say in 3 years from now and beyond. Along with those findings, we would add a few other little observations:
The importance of family and friends
We need to connect with colleagues, and continue to hold each other accountable
We need empathy – it feels good to care
Us humans thrive with an awareness of the present, but eyes to the future
So – with what stays the same in mind, how do you balance what matters now and in the future.
What can you do about it?
Focus on the way your work together and impact each other every day. Consider your stories of the past, plans for the future, leadership and the day in the life perspective of your people.
Double down on the key relationships you hold, at work and beyond. What matters to each person, what and who is holding things together and don’t always keep the same person in charge. Give everyone more of a role in holding the team together.
This is about an ability to play multiple leadership roles, and flick the switch between them. A time to help steer the team, a time to take charge and lead it from the front, a time to let another lead a key priority, a time to work out how to get the machine flowing smoother and a time to be strategic. All anchored by visible leadership – what you say, what you do, what you prioritise and what you measure. The way you do it may shift a little, but what matters at your core is everything.
Empathy and Authenticity
Understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings and emotions – taking their point of view – caring and being authentic to that. The idea of sonder – that an individual’s experience and life is as unique, rich and diverse as your own. Grasping their emotion, their perspective – what matters to them and how you can make sure they know you care.
This one is not new, but feels so right now. How can you ramp up your generosity to show someone else you care. You’re here, they’re here, sharing the planet – with probably some of the same uncertainties and fears, and absolutely with some of the same remedies – a story, a laugh, a relatability.
And, to land all of that together, imagine if we reframed what COVID meant for work.
What could COVID become?
Caring – for us, our teams, our people, our society. And a deeper appreciation of those in roles that care for others.
Open – a mindset shift to think critically, and collectively, on the biggest problems we face. Health, environment – any big system that needs a overhaul.
Vulnerable – we kept the emotion of our individual lived experience (which is now shared in a whole new way) as something that is allowed, and is enriching, to work
Impact – we thought about where value is placed in society – and took a moment to reassess the scales – people or the economy, growth or sustainability – right your own list
Direction (forward) – and, we set a direction forward that works for more of us.
With that, let’s all get to work on a post-COVID future that’s better than the world we knew before it.