next step

by Kevin Eikenberry

We are living/working in interesting times. As 2021 draws to a close, some people know the future of their work and working arrangements (where they will work and which days), yet many still do not.  A significant number of organizations haven’t yet decided or communicated their future of work plans and others have announced those plans but haven’t implemented (or have now delayed) them.  If you know your future work situation and are comfortable with it, this article may not be for you – share it with someone you know who still doesn’t know what their future holds or is waiting for that future to arrive.

That said, there are four groups I want to give some advice to at this important moment in time.  For each group while the future is uncertain, I’m assuming there is some new complexity to the working arrangements whether there is a hybrid or flexible component, or just the realization that there will be some drift in the direction of hybrid work.  Here are the four groups, and some advice for each:

Leaders in organizations with no stated plans.

You need to be prepare yourself but shine a light for your team.  If you are feeling impatient and anxious, so are they.  Even if you aren’t know that at least some of your team is becoming more anxious by the day.  The lack of knowledge may be hurting productivity and mental health.  Be empathetic and listen.  And if you want to think about how to transition to what ever your hybrid future might be, consider my LinkedIn Learning course, Planning for Your Hybrid Future.

Leaders in limbo, waiting for future plans to be implemented.

Now is the time for you to communicate clearly as much as you know about timelines and processes with your team members.  If things are changing, let people know that too.  Beyond your leadership role though, you need to prepare yourself for your future success as a leader.  I’d humbly recommend our Building Effective Hybrid Teams Master Class

Team members in organizations with no stated plans.

If this is you, you might be feeling pretty anxious.  The waiting and uncertainty might be negatively impacting you.  If so, that is understandable, and you aren’t alone.  While you can’t set the organization course personally, you can share your insights and perspectives.  Share your thoughts about what will best serve the organization and your team – don’t go on a personal rant. And whether you have a voice in the future plans or not, you can start preparing ourself for various possible future scenarios and think about the skills you might want to build in various working situations.  

Team members in limbo, waiting for future plans to be implemented.

Now is the time to prepare yourself for your future success.  Assuming that implementation includes some sort of return to the office, you might be apprehensive about that return, the changes to your habits and more. Be thinking about how you need to prepare, spend time talking to others in your life about adjustments to routines and expectations, and consider taking the timely and effective new LinkedIn Learning course Prepare for Returning to the Workplace.

Note that my overall advice comes down to be proactive.  Waiting rarely serves you, and certainly doesn’t now.  The future may be unclear or foggy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek the clarity and prepare for success in a different future. When the future is unclear those who get Remarkable Results continue to prepare, continue to learn, and continue to work.

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