Remote working as part of a continuum of organisational change

Remote working as part of a continuum of organisational change

‘The world of employment has rarely seen such tumult over such a short period. The pandemic has upended the job market and forced employers to adopt practices that many would have dismissed out of hand before 2020 – particularly remote working.’

As the pandemic emerged, I was writing: ‘As operational effectiveness is reduced by the direct impact of virus, the market viability of products and services will become constrained and unpredictable. It is suggested that leadership, in the current organisational context of the coronavirus disease, is about setting organisational structures and working practices that at one and the same time seek to learn from the past and exploit the weakness of that learning…’ You can read the full article in Business Leader here.

However, organisational change without innovation is sustainability without purpose (long-term failure). Innovation requires ‘action persistence’, commitment that ensures the plausibility of alternatives. Conversely, innovation without change is expediency without sustainability (short-term wins). Thus, these forces appear entirely non-rational and yet they define the dichotomy inherent in novel organisational changes, therefore remote or hybrid working requires resilience and adaptability.

Fore-sighted leaders consider unknown challenges yet to come and develop actions that ensure a continuous search for new trends and network opportunities. They deliberately engage in messy, poorly defined environments, not always knowing what they may learn or add but always knowing that such insight may benefit their responsibilities, even if it is not immediately apparent. As such, plans function more as compass bearings providing direction rather than a map. Maps help in known worlds – worlds that have been chartered before. However, here we are dealing with a brave (challenging) new world; the shape and direction of which are still emerging.

Whilst the world is seeking out a new equilibrium in working practices, the workplace cannot afford to lose the creativity and innovation that their people bring to organisations. At such times, pulse checking the climate* of organisational culture before placing large expensive bets on revised strategies for effective working, surely makes better sense? Without this immediate and timely feedback, organisations are flying blind or worse still, not flying at all!

*N.B. The distinction between embedded culture and the climate of culture is that the latter is much more reflective of dynamic (in process) changes to organisational environments.

Photo by Christina Morillo