Dependency or agency…

Where will the present workshift go from here? Back to the office or are you not leaving the house, to “go to work” again! In one of our interviews back in January, a seasoned commuter described how dressing for the office and heading upstairs just did not cut it. Their transition to work required that they needed to find some way to simulate their commute. Their solution, they walk to work. They get ready, head out the door and then round the block before arriving back home “ready” for the work day to begin. This simple innovation enabled them to transition from the rest of life to their work life with greater ease. Any of us could adopt such a simple habit. We perhaps cannot build a garden annex office or do anymore to increase available internet bandwidth, but we each have choices. 

Especially if you work for a bigger organisation there may be an expectation that the business should sort out the mess and confusion of working from home (WFH). Depending on the sector you are in and how developed the HR function is in your workplace, it may have been normal that HR would lead on bringing clarity where there was employee confusion or certainty where uncertainty was growing. That leadership acuity is required today, unquestionably, but we know from our research that a further vital component, employee agency, is also required to balance out any potential sense of staff dependency. Following Transactional Analysis thinking what we need in our workplaces is adult-adult interactions that safeguard the agency of the individual and the organisation. Some structures have more resource capacity to make the transitions easy for their people.

Another interviewee from earlier in the year, living in shared accommodation in an urban context, working in the arts sectors, told us about the contrast in experience between themselves and their “corporate” sector flat mate. They were sent home and told to work away with the same laptop that should have been replaced several years prior. Their flatmate in contrast, was given a budget and told to got and get set-up “at home” as if they were in the office. Irrespective of financial resource or the environmental factors that do require attention and acknowledgement, agency has no price tag. We can all choose to make the best of the circumstances we find ourselves in. To be the best version of ourselves.

Our diagnostic tool, helps individuals understand their work location preferences and helps organisations understand the spread of their people and what might be effectively explored to fine tune performance; so that when your people are blending between the office, home or anywhere in between they are setup to be optimistic, productive and engaged. The solutions are most likely already available to you, but our working from home index helps baseline your present starting point and offers insights that build between where your people find themselves now and how you want them to be, at work, regardless of location. A failure to develop individual agency is more likely to lead to dependency behaviours rather than the kind of interdependence that is a mark of healthy “adult” relationships. Good luck as you navigate the emerging pathway for your business. If you are interested in how AERMiD might help you baseline your workforce and resource how you show up to this workshift moment, then please drop us an email or pick up the phone: matt@aermid.co.uk or +447956964433.