Negotiation Skills for Hybrid Workplaces
Whatever Happened to Bandwidth?
As a negotiation skills speaker with long-term experience in understanding hybrid workplaces, virtual and remote meetings, I must be keenly aware of what I call “the language of organizations.”
Recently speaking in-person at a conference on the topic of negotiation skills for hybrid workplaces, an attendee asked me, “Whatever Happened to Bandwidth?” I laughed. In those ancient days of 2019, pre-COVID, supervisors and work teams often told one another that they didn’t know if they had the bandwidth to handle a project. This invariably led to a negotiation as to what could be fit in to a schedule, be it a project or production run or travel.
Fast forward to 2022, post-lockdowns, effective vaccines and medications, virtual meetings, and some days in the office, some days not, now we have the language of hybrid workplaces. With hybrid workplaces, we are learning a new set of negotiation skills.
By the way, my answer to the attendee’s question was easy: “We negotiated it with one another.” Organizations continue, language changes, and negotiation will always be a part of our skill-set. They negotiated effectively in 1830 and those of us who aren’t retired, will negotiate in 2030.
Hybrid is a term
In the February 2022 edition of the Harvard Business Review the writer states:
“One thing is clear about the future of work: At least in the near term — and possibly for much longer — hybrid work arrangements are going to be the norm for many organizations, in industries ranging from tech to pharmaceuticals to academia.”
We now call it “hybrid work,” and by 2023 and beyond, virtually guaranteed, we will call it work. It is a matter of how we negotiate with one another through this period.
The hybrid workplace negotiation is an important negotiation, no doubt, as organizations learn what they can do in-person versus what can be done in a virtual sense. However, make no mistake, we will get through it.
As a negotiation skills speaker with expertise in negotiating hybrid workplaces, I fully endorse that the key to effective hybrid organizational structures must focus on the ability to communicate with one another.
Rather than organizations stressing over how they will reign some employees back to the office, far better to improve listening skills, understand where the points of resistance might be, and more significantly to determine what is important and what isn’t.
Asking an employee to commute through heavy traffic to attend the weekly staff meeting might be 2019 stuff; needing a team to meet in a “huddle room” or larger venue to collaborate on a new system is more appropriate to negotiate in the here and now. Let’s not forget many of those trade shows with dwindling attendance pre-pandemic as well.
Truth is, there was a lot of time wasting pre-COVID (was all that commute time really essential?) and weren’t there a lot of unused cubicles and meeting spaces back then as well?
What organization didn’t negotiate with leasing agent’s pre-pandemic and what multi-national didn’t virtually communicate on an international basis with far-flung offices?
There is still “bandwidth” of course, and it has properly returned to technical lexicon. The term hybrid will soon return to describing Labrapoodle’s or similar mutt concoctions. What will not change is the need for negotiation. Let’s embrace it.
To contact Mike Hourigan, Negotiation Skills and Hybrid Workplace Motivational Speaker, for an in-person or virtual presentation, please call. Contact Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.