Making sense of work today for a better tomorrow

Much has changed for those of us managing and leading people in an international environment, in global mobility and HR. We explored the opportunities and challenges across industry sectors at the Future of Work Festival.

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What does the Future of Work look like? How can we create a model that is inclusive, flexible and purposeful?A distinguished panel of experts and researchers discussed these questions and more at the Future of Work Festival on Thursday, 9 June.
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Responding to volatility and uncertainty

Organisations today face a pressing need to be flexible and agile, embrace diversity and inclusion, and show that they have purpose beyond making profit. If organisations can demonstrate these qualities, then they will be better able to recruit and retain talent, find the best people to work with and nurture success.Companies are grappling with complex questions around hybrid working, the Great Resignation and global mobility. Yet they also need to think about how to nurture and encourage employee wellbeing and purpose if they are to grow and succeed in this new era.  It’s in this context that the Future of Work Festival brought together employers and experts to unlock the power of people and further understand how we can leverage wellbeing, leadership, agility, flexible work and agility.Throughout the Festival, panellists and delegates looked at how people and organisations are adapting to change, and how they can harness tools to promote regeneration, transformation and growth.With wellbeing, innovation and agility at its core, the Festival was a fantastic opportunity for interactive discussions and debate, face-to-face networking, making new contacts and connections with like-minded professionals. There was the additional benefit of it being designed for the open air. These comfortable surroundings and sunshine will enhance the wellbeing of all our experts and attendees.

Agility is about innovation and purpose

Dr Linda Holbeche, independent coach, developer, consultant, researcher and author in the fields of HR, strategy, organisation design and development and leadership, looked at the implications of agility for the future of work, the workplace and workers. Her new research on agility investigates how being agile is a combination of customer-centric goals, the ability to innovate, excellent teamwork and collaboration, and a focus on meeting customer needs.“Flexibility is an important part of that because in this new era of work it is no longer about long-term projects that never deviate. Instead, organisations will be more focused on short-term iterations and innovations,” she says.“It is important to look at what are the biggest barriers to agility and how organisations can equip their workforce to thrive in this context. What are the key elements to focus on if you are trying to build resilience both at a company and at an individual level?“We are in a new era, driven by technology and instability, and organisations need to look at how to create a strong shared purpose around customers. That is not just about giving people more tasks, but about stopping doing certain things in order to allow space for people to innovate and not burn out.“You could argue that everybody is going to have to be more or less agile in some way, moving faster, breaking things down into small chunks and delivering change in a continuous way.”Dr Linda Holbeche at the Festival:Read Dr Linda Holbeche's full bio to learn more

People, purpose and the planet – key themes for organisations

Teresa Boughey, MA Chartered FCIPD, founder and CEO of national award-winning Jungle HR, a strategic HR consultancy practice that works with executive boards and leadership teams during times of change and business transformation, talked about connections and purpose.“Going forward, organisations will need to be focused on three key areas: people, purpose and the planet,” she says.“How do organisations rise to the challenge in managing people, promoting inclusively and working collaboratively? How do you foster those connections, especially with a global mobility team when you are at a distance, and it is even more important to keep those connections going?”She also discussed what is an organisation's purpose and how does it align with an individual's purpose.“People want something different post-Covid,” she explains. “They are looking for an organisation that is in tune with the ideas of its workers. They want to know that it provides great customer service and a great product or customer service solution rather than just making profit.”In terms of the planet and environment, organisations need to think about how they meet sustainable goals. This should be deep in the DNA of a company, rather than window-dressing.“How do we do this authentically, not just in addition to the day-to-day job, but as part of everyday operations?” she says. “In the Festival hub we will be discussing what should you stop and what should you start doing and what needs to be amplified. We'll be talking about and sharing these key themes around people, planet and purpose.”Teresa Boughey at the Festival:Read Teresa Boughey's full bio to learn more

What is wellbeing and how can we nurture it?

A key theme of the Festival’s wellbeing hub was looking at the different aspects managers and individuals need to consider when promoting and nurturing wellbeing. This included looking at what wellbeing means to individuals in terms of physical, economic, financial and emotional wellbeing and how it is different for each individual.Claus Springborg is a leadership consultant, author and lecturer at Copenhagen Business School. He explored research that shows the greatest predictors for employee engagement are linked to wellbeing and a sense of purpose.“When we look at the basis for the hiring process, how do we make sure that people get into positions where they are able to use their character strengths?  An important piece of research says that if you use more than three of your top five character strengths, your job will feel like a calling. That also is arguably an indicator of wellbeing,” he says.“Another key element of managing wellbeing well is looking at the concept of time affluence. Everybody has massively packed calendars, and they might be very well paid in terms of finances, but it might not feel very natural in terms of time and personal purpose, and this is a huge part of wellbeing.”Claus Springborg at the Festival:Read Claus Springborg's full bio to learn more

Stress and the workplace – how can we manage it better?

Paul Williamson heads up learning and development at The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), a global live entertainment business. He talked about what affects wellbeing in the workplace.“People experience stress at work, and research has shown that you can lose ten to 15 IQ points when you're under stress. For this reason, it is really important that organisations and teams take this seriously because taken as a whole across a team or an organisation that can very easily affect the bottom line and your reputation,” he says.“How can leaders support wellbeing within their organisation? We will be looking at examples, sharing best practice and gathering ideas for how to build on that in the future.”Paul Williamson at the Festival:Read Paul Williamson's full bio to learn more

Flexibility is the key to the new way of working

Darryl Walker is Group Director of Distribution and Partner Network at soulful hospitality provider, edyn. He discussed what the Future of Work will mean for the global mobility business.“In our organisation we did research, and we began to design the way we started to go back to work, looking at the hybrid model and how it fitted in,” he says.“We looked at our workspaces, our technology, our culture and one option we came up with was to move from having physical fixed desks to a technology that allowed us to book desks as and when we need them.“As an example of what more flexibility means, Airbnb have announced all of their employees can now work from anywhere in their country of employment. Plus, they can work for up to 90 days in any country in the world every year. I think other tech companies more or less mirror that in some way and that is likely to permeate through to other businesses.“What does that mean for working from home or working from temporary accommodation? It is potentially a huge opportunity for the relocation business and global mobility.“If people are able to move around and work more freely between countries and locations, what are the challenges around that? How do you support employees with the technology? What is the legal position? How do you enable the culture of the company to live and breathe if you're not physically together? How do you bring people together in person and virtually? There are a lot of important discussions to be had around that topic.”Darryl Walker at the Festival:
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