Are you struggling with outdated work models? Try to take a human-centered approach

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People-centered transformation is at the heart of teams more than ever, and for leaders it is essential to challenge work models that prevent effective teamwork. Companies have to make good decisions in front of them, and one of the most important areas is determining the next world of work. As organizations strive to resolve these issues, the most illuminating question now is what they do and how they deal with these issues. One of the most immediate factors is the way teams return to work and the impact on caregivers who still find themselves torn between work and domestic roles.

Flexible working has been a big area of ​​focus during the pandemic, and as organizations begin to recover from the exogenous shocks experienced during the pandemic, a new approach to problem solving is needed. These difficult conditions are ideal for stimulating innovation. But how many companies will have the courage to make a radical overhaul? Help is offered by a team of researchers, Elizabeth Weingarten, Pranav Trewn, Manasee Desai and Katy Davis of Ideas 42, in partnership with Time is up share new approaches to closing the gender gap in the workplace. Based on interviews with managers, academics and workplace experts, the research identifies how organizations still hold onto an outdated idea of ​​workers and how these standards still influence our expectations of what good looks like. At work. The identity of work stems from the behavior of men who have devoted significant hours to working in a physical space to achieve set goals within a specific period of time. Society and work have changed dramatically. Weingarten and his team proclaim: “Despite these changes in the lives of workers, outdated standards continue both to influence current workplace behaviors and to inform the design of systems and policies, creating a vicious cycle. which in turn reinforces these nefarious norms. “

Let’s go back to the sensitive and difficult area of ​​flexible and flexible working for team members as companies continue to increase their productivity. Research of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), highlights the risk of locking in the gender gap in the workplace. A survey of two thousand people working in the private sector in France, with an equal gender distribution, identified a trend where 60% of women who have worked part-time choose to remain part-time after the easing. lock restrictions. . On the other hand, 40% of the men questioned opt for part-time work. The gap between the choices of male and female workers is notable and perhaps of concern when one considers the effort invested in building a more gender balanced pipeline in organizations.

By now, we know the barriers to the continued engagement of women in the workplace; family responsibilities and domestic roles have placed a greater burden on women and continue to do so as we continue to navigate lockdowns. Related factors such as a dedicated workspace impact women’s productivity; the same research showed that women were twice as likely as their male colleagues to be interrupted by family members during the lockdown. Jessica apotheker, Managing Director and Associate of BCG, Paris explains the importance; “We have seen women working remotely and struggling to do their jobs while taking on additional caregiving responsibilities. The added dimension of this burden falls largely on women, and this can trigger anxiety about how much work they can take on. “

This level of angst in juggling work and domestic demands increased during lockdown races across the organization. Surprisingly, resistance to returning to full-time work is as prevalent among women in leadership roles as it is among women downstream. While senior management offers greater flexibility and control over work patterns, there is still a need to reconsider what this means when it comes to intensified household responsibilities. An increase in part-time work indicators concerns both the retention and promotion of women to positions of responsibility. Apotheker cites how flexible working is described as a positive outcome of the lockdown: “In reality, it’s been more transformational for men than for women. On a positive note, we find that men do more at home than they do for women. didn’t do it before, especially taking care of children, but we also see women feeling guilty about not spending enough time with their children. And so women feel like they are losing on all fronts. ”

Outdated standards distort the reality of working people today.

Conversations around caregiving reinforce social norms, but they need to be changed. The authors of Ideas 42 emphasize the dual impact of injunctive (prescriptive) norms defining how people expect others to behave and descriptive norms; how the majority will behave in a situation. Both aspects of social norms maintain the status quo even though it causes more harm than good.

The experiences of foreclosure and the significant differences experienced by women and men working from home illustrate the need to think differently and challenge outdated ways of working. Flexible working is a necessary policy to cope with changes in the workplace, but an intentional culture change must develop in parallel to create changes in attitudes and behavior. When considering the data and the impact of care on women’s careers, the immediate response is to focus on women and improve working conditions for women. Of course, this is necessary, but what if we approach the situation from a different angle? Taking a behavior design approach, Ideas Team 42 asks, “What if managers see caregiving as the default method when planning work patterns?” How do we approach the questions when we consider how men and women should adapt their work to caregiving roles, covering babies, children, elderly parents or vulnerable family members? The shift in thinking alters social norms and opens conversations about behaviors and attitudes.

Find a solution in three easy steps

Solutions is not a cookie-cutter approach, but there is a framework provided by Ideas 42 that can help explore the options of the three practical approaches:

  1. Create clear and predictable schedules for colleagues; Uncertainty hits us inevitably, but a lot of work can be planned and managed.
  2. Hold managers accountable for burnout. We reward success with bonuses and promotions, but paying more attention to how those goals are achieved and ensuring that the well-being of employees is at the center of decision-making.
  3. Standardize leave and flexibility in care; policies are not enough, model senior men lead by example.

The last point is brilliantly illustrated by Netflix in their “no vacation” policy, allowing employees to determine how much time off they take and when they take it. The most revealing obstacle to taking annual leave was the behavior of managers who set descriptive social standards for their teams.

Bringing behavioral design thinking into an organization is not an overnight solution, and some decisions will need to be tweaked and refined. Flexible working is a great place to start – what worked before will no longer hold talented women, and companies need to think differently and effectively about new ways of working. The area of ​​flexible working is relevant for most teams and is also particularly sensitive with the overlap between work and domestic work. Current tensions mean that men’s halos are polished for taking on more domestic responsibilities and women feel even more guilty for not doing even more. We need a new approach to creating new thinking about business processes and services – what better way to embed innovation at the heart of the organization?



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