The outcomes based future of work

The pandemic has upended many of our traditional thought processes on what constituted a productive day. The cultures of many companies are undergoing an upheaval even as many other organizations are discovering digital technologies as THE first need to thrive in the altered future.

Now the raging debate about work from office vs. work from home is not an easy one. Just saying that ‘we are a traditional orthodox firm’ does not offer any company the leverage to ask people to return to work. It is being frowned upon and could end up in the long-run becoming a key driver of attrition. So if you are embracing hybrid work culture, how do you manage the key face-time that is needed for innovation, integration, culture-formation and other such organizational activities? Are digital solutions the way forward?

We might just have to break the shackles and think radically outside the box on how we define our workday, week or month. We might have to think of ‘outcomes’ and what we WANT to achieve rather than what we NEED to do. It might not be about the process, but more about the end results. Once we define the key results we want to achieve (Objectives and Key Results or OKRs are the gold standard here), we can define which parts of the equation can be worked out from home and which ones need office presence.

This is potentially a different way of thinking where teams agree on fixed times during a quarter when people need to be present at work to collaborate, learn, mentor or just watch. Other times can be optional presence or pure work from anywhere. Rather than think of a work days and months, think of a work-quarter in which you define your objectives and key result areas, which in turn ties-in with the overall plans of your organization. Such a top-down cascading of objectives might help in ensuring a workable hybrid work model which ensures that innovation is kept alive while giving people the flexibility to manage their work-presence.

This just might end up rekindling that spark when thinking about returning to work and reconnecting with your team physically. Its a brave new world and requires a brave new way of thinking! Building-in ‘office presence’ into a system of OKRs might just deliver the right benefits for all

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Jagan Ramaswami

Jagan Ramaswami

Senior management professional and strategy advisor, Raconteur, Growth Strategist, Futurist