We have an exciting preview for you this month! Lynda Gratton’s publishers, Penguin Business, have agreed to share an excerpt of her forthcoming book, Redesigning Work: How to Transform Your Organisation and Make Hybrid Work for Everyone, with our readers.
The four-step process for redesigning work
Our collective experience of the pandemic has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink what we want from work and our working lives. We had a chance to question many fundamental assumptions, adopt new habits and form new narratives of how work gets done. The experience also confronted corporate leadership teams with the challenge of how they would respond. Would they stay with their ways of working or would they use this as an opportunity to be bold and redesign work to make working a more purposeful, productive, agile and flexible activity? How best to redesign work?
To support you on this journey, I have created a four-step process based on my experiences as a researcher fascinated by networks, co-creation, fairness and the shifts (demographic, technological and societal) that shape work:
1. Understand what matters. Which skills, networks and jobs are crucial for productivity? How does knowledge flow within and across your business and what do these flows look like? What do your people want from work and from the company? How do people experience work across the whole of their employee lifecycle?
2. Reimagine the future. From this foundation of rich understanding, you can start to devise optimal work designs. Imagine making the office a place of cooperation where conversation flows and people bump into each other in a serendipitous way. Or imagine the home as a real source of healthy living and energy. Or imagine how focus and coordination can be supported by the ways that working time is structured.
3. Model and test ideas. These ideas can be modelled and tested against a number of factors that could be sources of risk. Is the model future-proofed? Will it still be relevant and purposeful in the short, medium and long term? Will the model of work both enable the technological transitions that are in play and, importantly, provide the support for employees to make the necessary skill transitions? And will the model be experienced as equitable and fair by employees across the company?
4. Act on your model and create new ways of working. This ensures the model of work will be embedded into the practices and culture of the company. To do that requires emphasising the role of leaders and of the narratives and stories they tell. It means acknowledging and supporting the pivotal role of managers and implementing widely a process of co-creation that engages people with the design choices and brings them along in the process of change.
I hope these frameworks will help you and your team to understand your own company in terms of the way that work gets done and to collectively imagine what is possible for the future. Let’s get started!