Thankfully, there’s no-one calling me back into the office. But this post is about people who are being recalled — as well as those working in sub-optimal remote settings.
This post suggests that the phrase “this isn’t working” should be viewed as an invitation for dialogue rather than a threat, arguing that open communication is crucial for things inadequate in the workplace.
The Future of Work conversation is full of rejected gifts. We’ve seen bosses throw “this isn’t working” back in employees’ faces as “entitlement.” As “millennials.” As “no one wants to work anymore.” We’ve seen employees throw it back in their CEO’s face, too, as “outdated.” Or “boomers.” Or “something something commercial real estate.” As far as we can tell, that point-scoring hasn’t gotten us any closer to the future we’re all trying to build.
We know that everyone’s sick of constantly redesigning the rules of work. There’s this revisionist nostalgia for, in some quarters, 2019. And in others, 2021. We know that some of you have built systems here in 2023 that are working for you, and you would like them to please just stay put for a goddamned minute. We get that. But when someone tells you that those systems aren’t working for them, shouting them down won’t give you the peace and quiet you want.
By all means, read what other orgs are doing. Maybe there are things you can learn from what Apple does, or Google, or Smuckers. But there’s no shortcut around the conversation. Every sales person, fundraiser, marketer, product leader, and designer will tell you the same thing. You have to talk to people to know if you’re actually reaching them. To know if any of your solutions actually solve the problem.