It’s time to transition from WFH to interacting Face-to-Face

October 16, 2020

So far in 2020 businesses have heavily focused on managing operations, minimising costs and ensuring business continuity.  As we continue to learn how to navigate the impact of COVID-19, businesses need to focus more on positioning for the future and driving competitive growth strategies that are more effectively achieved through face-to-face interactions.

It’s time to move from surviving this pandemic and working from home to thriving in the workplace and creating new value.

Some businesses can maintain operations primarily working from home, however at 151 Property, how do we;

- effectively onboard new talent;

- drive social learning;

- innovate and transmit our culture;

- grow our business and create competitive value

 . . .  while our people are physically and continuously separated?

Life is evolving - our home has become an extension of our workplace.  Life and work are integrating more than ever and there is a place for the home being an alternate location to the office to enable flexibility.  However, the office remains the cultural heart of an organisation, the catalyst that allows people to maximise their collective potential, leverage diverse ideas and create growth opportunities.

How does a law graduate learn role efficiencies and key insights from their senior colleagues remotely, as opposed to face-to-face training and learning by osmosis?

How does a technology team innovate to improve/create a new product via video conference, as opposed to brainstorming in a room feeding off each other’s energy and ideas? 

There’s no doubt flexible working is valued by individuals, as everyone has varying personal situations and the need to be autonomous in their decisions to manage “where and when” they work. However, people who largely WFH tend to work less collaboratively and in business-unit silos (because they have no other choice), whereas face-to-face interaction helps build social collateral, contributes to wellbeing, a sense of community, belongingness and supports mental health.  The office is a safe place that provides ergonomic and physical equality (as everyone’s home situation is different).  It’s a place where everyone, especially new starters, can feel the energy and buzz of a business, where people can pick up social cues, learn by osmosis and can maximise overall productivity.

The office will always be the home of any business and will continue to live - even flourish - as human interaction is vital to our wellbeing and striving for greater outcomes.  It allows our unique culture to be cultivated, as strong cultures help build engagement, drive retention, support innovation and ultimately can take business to the next level. 

There is one saying that has always stuck with me from the late Bill Wyllie; “It doesn’t matter what business you are in, you are in the people business”.  And there’s no better way to interact with people than in the flesh!