from Evicted to Occupied
looking for that responsible equilibrium that makes us free
A few years ago, I was listening to an entrepreneur in the field of institutional education. He was very young and dazzled me by his vision and, especially his maturity (this confirmed to me maturity does not go just with the number of years or experiences you lived. Anyway, this statement deserves a separate story).
In this moment my memory of that talk, does not come back to me due to the brilliant vision, which he was pursuing and now is achieving, of re-thinking the didactics and structure of university education, but rather from sharing the feelings (conclusions?) caused that arose in him when he visited some large “Business Campuses”, such as Apple Park in Cupertino or the Google Campus de Mountain View, among others.
These places that seemed to be (are they still so?) The highest representation of how the most enlightened companies (?) were determined to make the lives of their employees as easy as possible, thus contributing to the conciliation between their personal and their professional lives.
They were designed so that their employees, inside there, could find the solution and have support on their many sensitive issues, such as kindergartens and medical services, or logistics, such as managing purchases and lunches, or well-being such as sports, cultural activities, meditation, etc.
Without going so far, also here in Spain we have many examples of this, from the city of Santander, to the one of Telefónica, from that of BBVA to that of Naturgy or Endesa (saving the distances)
That’s great and such a relief! We leave home, get in the car, try to park somewhere close (or not so close ) to the facilities, and there everything is designed and organized to be able to solve our lives without having to leave. And so, we can calmly return home to rest and get up again without worrying about having to organize any alternative route, the next day, to manage our issues.
That’s great! Is that really great? Don’t we realize that we are being EVICTED from our own life? That our life runs almost completely in and for a company? This thought, more or less in these words, was being made by a post-millennial (Z), supposedly the target, along with the millennials, for whom these “corporate villas” had been designed. Weren’t we getting the wrong solution?
Or rather, the question would have to be formulated this way: Isn’t it the right solution for companies? But what about their employees?
The truth is that it has been sold as the panacea.
The pendulum theory.
We were with this model when…
… Covid 19 arrived,
and pushed the pendulum in an abrupt and extreme way right to the other side.
From this moment on (as Groucho Marxused to say: : these are my principles. If you don’t like them… tengo otros I have others) the companies clung to the moral heightof other principles. Making them theirs. It matters little that they are right the opposite to what they were preaching up to that moment.
So, we could summarize it as:
what dignifies the person is working…. from home
My house is my office.
How well and such a relief! We are still able to work during this dramatic health emergency without leaving home.
And hopefully it is not just a contingent solution to overcome and survive to a dramatic social and economic situation.
And we have to be patient with the small inconveniences that we discovered due to the unpredictability of this situation.
But, let’s keep the good stuff! We do not have to commute, we get up later, we do not have to get work having already had our breakfast, we can have it while we are on line, we can eat at home, we do not have to worry about finishing our pending tasks before leaving the office, we can do it quietly, and when the kids are back home, there we are! at home. We don’t care about what we wear, and how efficient we are with business meetings, without trips, commuting, booking meeting-rooms, etc! and what if there is something urgent to be solved? No prob! We connect after dinner and that’s it.
And by the way, they know I’m home and they can call me at any time.
I can use my time so well now! How lucky I am!
How lucky? Don’t we realize that our own lives have been OCCUPIED?
They have got into our own houses into our privacy. We work from the table where we eat, sitting on a nice chair, but…. comfortable and ergonomic as we can say ergonomic, probably not! The office is the kitchen, our kitchen, the meeting room is our living room, we are not going to connect to Teams / Zoom /…. from the kitchen, isn’t it? The wifi we use is our private one. And we answer any phone-call or any business request because…. because it always catches me in the office.
And the Government has just approved the new “smart working” law to formalize this reality. Awesome! (??)
And all of this has been called SMART Working.
Smart, really smart it is and convenient.
And here it goes, the pendulum theory! It is fundamental to accelerate changes and vital to adapt ourselves to unforeseen situations. And now, we have a unique opportunity to institutionalize in a really SMART shape the Work, and we don’t have to miss it.
But this deserves a broader, more deliberate and generous reflection.
We have to take advantage of it and we have to take advantage of the possibility that technology offers us today in an institutionalized way, not just a contingent one.
Today we are part of a wonderful blended society, enjoying an enriching blended culture (with predominant features depending on the latitudes, of course). Why not apply a blended approach also to work so that it really turns out to be SMART?
Let’s rescue the benefits of the Corporate Campus, which are a lot and valuable, and let’s complement them with the opportunities that working remotely/ from home offers us.
And for sure, let’s identify and solve the shortcomings large corporate concentrations have (starting with the logistics) as well as those of working from home.
And hopefully that the governments will not always and only move in a reactive and partial way but they will be able to define the path. Let’s try to show them the way. That the laws not only serve to regulate the present, always arriving late and mismatched, they could anticipate or at least arrive on time and ideology free, but with vision and intention.
A SMART Working logisticsoption, not polarized, (aut-aut) home or office, adaptive and selective.
The logistics of smart work
From where, how, with what and with whom to work.
Is the one that at all times adapts to the interactions necessary to develop the activities whose purpose is to obtain expected results according to a certain context and circumstances.
That sentence was a bit messy, but I think it reflects the essence.
This, in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, London, Milan, Rome…. (although it could also be raised to the level of Country or Region, or more) it would lead us to imagine an interconnected network of offices, located in strategic logistics points of the city (or the Country, why not also think about the problem of the empty midland countryside?) and easily accessible, covering the geography of social and economic interest of the parties involved, with no pre-assigned and dedicated spaces, free but planned access, complemented by specialized areas and pivoting on agile and lean HQ.
Ex. 1. María, IT Consultant Healthcare of an Insurance Company,
had planned to work from home tomorrow, as she had done the last 3 days, because she needed to review the result of the programming of the new functionalities of a new application, but has realized that her annual medical check-up is scheduled first thing in the morning. The medical center is 1h from her home, just as far from her main office.
Thanks to the new strategy of SMART Locations 4 SMART Working her company has just introduced, Mary identifies the office center closest to her medical center and there books a space to go to once the examination is completed and in which she will be able to rely on all the resources and the logistics she needs to be able to fulfill the planned work.
Ex. 2. María, IT Consultant Healthcare of an Insurance Company,
Once all the functionalities have been verified, the next day Mary has scheduled to meet with her boss and the Client Director to be able to present the results of her work, testing the final release. And that is why she plans to go to her main office booking both access to her main desk and 1h of a meeting room for 3 people.
Until March 2020 having a single large operational and management Central Building Block seemed to be the best solution in order to optimize business and personal efficiencies and effectiveness.
Since March 2020we discovered that working remotely/ from home was and is feasible (technologically speaking), possible in term of management and good at a personal level but… we have also discovered its “collateral damages”.
Let’s now take advantage of these experiences, which we lived first hand, to imagine and build balanced solutions that bring us a little closer to a Smart Work.
This just with regard to the logistics.
More ink would be needed to talk about all the New Organizational Capabilities(starting with Culture, Organization and Behaviors) functional to the SMART Working.
For the moment let’s BE
SMART, Flexible and Responsible
but above all of this
“in medio virtus stat”
“Virtue is in the middle”
“Virtus est medium vitiorum et utrimque reductum”
“Virtue is the middle point between two defects, from both equidistant”
Luca Boer – Partner & Co-CEO Talent Republic
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