Leadership and Productivity Paranoia – the Burden of Hybrid Work
The rapid adoption of collaboration tools amidst Covid pandemic has been extremely interesting to witness and experience. For us digitally native organizations the change was merely in our work environment surroundings. Home office and remote work became the normal. For those with kids at home, gave it an extra flavor. However, the basic way of work and tools used remained the same. But for many, becoming digital overnight was a huge effort and a real learning leap.
Hybrid work is now the new normal. We can’t stop it so we should embrace it. Hybrid meetings have also become the new normal. Pre-pandemic, people in the office had an advantage over people at home, but during the pandemic, the playing field was leveled. How do we equally support all meeting participants as some join in the office and others join remotely?
Hybrid way to work is here to stay, but there’s paranoia around productivity.
We are noticing increased flexibility in how, when and where people work. However, there is an imbalance: Employees have embraced flexible work and leaders crave a return to the office.
The trust gap between employees and leaders is huge. According to the Work Trend Index, from September 2022 (20 000 respondents from 11 countries) 87% of employees report they are productive at work while at the same time 12% of leaders say they have full confidence that their team is productive.
If hybrid work is just work, are we doing it wrong? Where does the leader’s mistrust stem from?
I wanted to do something unlikely instead of just joining those wondering at the drastic figures. I wanted to dig into the root causes, why have leaders lost their trust in their own people and simultaneously in themselves? I tried something different and decided to first empathize with the leader. The traditional approach is to put the employee in the focus. But I thought, that since in the big picture leadership needs to adjust and change as well, we should also look at the problem from the leader’s perspective! From this universal productivity paranoia, I introduce the following 7 hypothesis:
The 7 Hypothesis for Leader’s productivity paranoia
- VISIBILITY. I don’t see the WORK. Seeing is believing. WYSIWYG
- MEASURABILITY. I can’t measure the work / progress anymore.
- ACCOUNTABILITY. We can’t hold people accountable.
- SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. I don’t know what’s going on and what the mood is.
- MOMENTUM. I can’t get people excited to start and execute in meetings.
- DECISIONS. We are paralyzed in Decision making with too many stakeholders and complexity.
- LEARN. We can’t learn fast enough as the feedback loop is missing.
As a leader your job is to make work visible, measurable, manageable and impactful. Transparency and open documentation of work processes makes everything visible. Visibility of things in progress helps us gain situational awareness and enables measuring. Measuring helps us see what activities we are prioritizing and enables alignment. And managing alignment allows us to be impactful and creates value.
So, are there solutions? Yes, of course. Is the solution a digital tool? Well, yes and no.
Yes, because we all understand that multilocation, hybrid, different time zones…require us to use digital means for communication. In the current and upcoming environmental, political, and economic climate chances for everyone to gather together are scarce.
Why do we need digital leadership and new tools? Hybrid work is here to stay and part of the team will be working remotely. Then there is the disconnection: Employees feel less integrated and engaged to the company when working remote. Employee experience and stickiness are critical factors for company success and employee retention. And to somehow succeed in this, to be productive and to have impact, we need great leadership, which today also means digital leadership. Walking the floor and talking to your team isn’t the way to reach everyone anymore.
Then again: No, because a tool won’t solve this on its own. Leadership also needs to adjust on a systemic level. Work needs to adapt, and flexibility is required. Bridging the productivity gap is also a cultural change. Increasing transparency is also a mindset. So is being comfortable with measurement.
To thrive in hybrid work, build a culture of trust and flexibility.
At Fingertip one of our core messages has been to focus on creating a good culture of social decision making – as it is core to trust and essential to productivity.
10+ years of experience in digitizing leadership processes of all shapes and sizes: corporate strategy implementation, startup operational leadership practices, social decision making, cultural transformation – have made us at Fingertip a true pioneer of modern work.
Our first journey was on the Salesforce.com platform, with the idea of bringing decision making and leadership as close to the customer as possible. When work globally went online overnight, helping to solve the leadership challenges in remote work was a natural next step for us. We pivoted our tech stack over to Microsoft Teams which became the winning platform for hybrid work with good collaboration, communication, and engagement in the core.
Today Fingertip is the frontrunner of modern hybrid leadership tech. Our platform enables leaders to decide, meet, plan and complete work with speed and transparency. It allows collaboration of unheard proportions anywhere, anytime, providing organizations with the situational awareness they need to create a winning strategy in the fourth industrial revolution.
Fingertip is a native extension to Microsoft Teams and integrates seamlessly to the wildly popular platform to squeeze out more performance of every working day.
Together with Microsoft Teams and Power Apps, Fingertip provides a strong and secure platform for improving digital leadership skills with more accountable decision making, transparent goal setting, collaborative and efficient meetings management, strategic planning and big picture visibility – all provided by Fingertip. We want to help organizations solve the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution!
PS. At Slush we premiered Fingertip for Teams together with Microsoft. Jaakko Pellosniemi shared the stage with Kalle Saarikannas from Microsoft to talk about hybrid leadership. There Jaakko introduced the 7 Hypothesis for Leader’s productivity paranoia and was asked to write this blog as well.