If there is one thing I know for sure about professionals today, they want flexibility in how and where they work. This message is clear and can be heard across many companies, as well as the diverse leaders with whom I have the privilege of working together with. Not every job can be done remotely or even in a hybrid manner. But most jobs can now be done in flexible ways that are different from what has been done in the past.
Instead of embracing what’s possible, I see some executives arguing in favor of why past ways of working are best. It’s as if they are trying to roll back the workplace to its pre-pandemic norms. The world has changed, and we live in the now. Instead of spending time building a case for going backward, I encourage leaders at all levels to examine how they can best meet the needs of their employees today.
There is a lot I love about the past and many things I miss from days gone by, yet to lead well, I know I must be firmly planted in the here and now. Here are ways you can influence a modern approach to flexible work:
- Meet and exceed standards. When you are known as a strong, credible performer, you build influence to bring about change that is in the best interest of your team and your company. After your performance has spoken for you, take time to verbalize your thoughts and opinions on how flexible work can happen in your workplace.
- Recognize you are not stuck. From “quiet quitting” to “retire in place,” don’t take the frustration-filled path of checking out at work. Instead, intentionally choose how you can proactively address what’s not working in your environment. Or consider moving on. Choosing to languish in your current role has many downsides to your esteem, future earnings, skills, and potential.
- Unite with allies that want a better workplace. If you are frustrated at work, chances are you are not alone. Seek out others who share similar concerns and work together to voice concerns and present solutions. Don’t blame and shame. Instead, support decision makers in imagining what’s possible by asking questions, illuminating the risk and cost of disengaged workers, suggesting options, and being open to collaborating for middle-ground solutions.
The way we work has changed forever. I encourage you to seize this moment in time to create productive ways of working that better serve results, people, teams, and communities. Recognize what’s in the past and look to modernize instead.