Has Anyone Seen My Office?
As a Motivational Change Management Speaker for the Workplace, I have been a witness to the sweeping transformations that have occurred in what used to be called “the office.”
As I have noted in my keynote speeches on change and change management, the COVID-19 pandemic may have accelerated the trend from the in-person to the virtual, but it was coming in any event. Office space rentals were spiraling out of control in major cities; more and more traditional branch offices were heading in the direction of co-working spaces and outsourcing quickly replaced in-house providers. There are many more reasons for these shifts however, it is clear that many of the “modifications” were inevitable.
Naturally, there have been situations that never changed from the “in-person.” It is impossible to “make things” or process foods distantly; to care for patients remotely; same with pharmaceuticals or construction. Nevertheless, over time the “executive class” in many instances became even more removed from the blue-collar workers and many middle managers (that is a whole other change conversation).
For a brief period, the business world kind-of, sort-of settled into a division of labor. We partially embraced a home office versus “factory floor” dynamic; a sometimes hybrid versus a daily routine and all of that. Now, a whole new body of research has removed the artificial barriers and is making us question everything.
Want to come back, sort of?
About six months ago a survey was conducted of 2,000 office workers and it was found that 76-percent of them preferred to be in the office and 86-percent of them wanted meetings with clients in office settings.
In truth, there is a minor war being waged in hybrid discussions. Research is showing almost as many wanting to increase remote work are being offset by those companies wanting employees back in the office.
Back in late summer 2021, Fortune magazine published the first of many articles along the lines of: “Returning to the office: Employees who show up in person often get ahead faster.”
Like it or not, we are social creatures. Employers who have face-to-face contact with employees on a frequent basis tend to promote those employees more quickly. This causes further confusion and frustration.
The essence of change is that it can be confusing and troubling unless it is managed. As a motivational workplace speaker on the topic of change, when I speak to my audiences (virtually or in-person), I talk about the importance of communication.
One employee’s passion may be another employee’s fear. However, in the quest to “find offices,” employees are losing their ability to talk to one another. When that occurs, all communication breaks down. It is not just a matter of Gen-Z not finding anything in common with Boomers; it is a matter of not always knowing how to communicate and not realizing that workers have much more in common than they have differences.
The pandemic has, as I mentioned, accelerated workplace changes not necessarily to create things that were never considered. It appears as though our inability to communicate has made any possibilities of change more difficult.
Maybe more employees need to start asking one another, have you seen my office?
To contact Mike Hourigan, Motivational Work Place Change Speaker, please call Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.