Time to Think Way Outside

While working from home has become normal or nearly normal for some, will it continue to be part of the next normal?  And what does that mean for you as a leader?

Back in April, The Conference Board surveyed 152 human capital leaders in US-based organizations.  The report’s findings included the following:

More than 75% of respondents expect an increase in full-time employees working remotely at least 3 days a week a full 12 months after the pandemic (see chart).

And nearly half of respondents expect at least 1 in 5 of their employees will be working remotely 12 months after the pandemic.  Nearly 20% expect at least 2 in 5 employees will work remotely (see chart).

So what does this mean for you as a leader?

There is No More Box
Remember the cliché “think outside the box”?  Well, for some, there is no more box.  The 6 sides of the office box are gone.

For the older ones of us, wow, that’s a significant new normal (with apologies again for the cliché).

For the younger ones of us, what’s the big deal?  It’s simply an extension of what we’ve already been doing.  Our smart devices have allowed us to work, connect, and play remotely.  Isn’t this just more of the same?

Are You a Talent Broker?
So with more of us working remotely, the pool of your potential talent has just grown exponentially.  And the quality of that pool has also grown exponentially.

You are no longer limited by, “Who wants to work here (in this building, town, city, state, country, continent)?”
Instead, the one question is, “Who can we attract?”
Depending on the time-sensitive nature of the work to be done, you’ve just expanded your potential pool of talent by [pick a number from 1 to 23] time zones.

So a key skill for leaders will be, are you a talent broker?  That is, do you have access to high-quality talent?  Better still, do you know many of them?  Obviously, this is not a new needed skill.  It’s simply become more important.

Quick Thought Experiment
Your company or organization is looking to fill some of its positions.  You:
a) hope those in recruiting or (if you don’t have a recruiting function) someone else can find the talent.
b) know a few people locally who could do the job.
c) know people who can connect you to them.
d) have a network of top talent not limited by geography.

Who do you wish to be?

So Stomp It
COVID-19 has led many leaders to re-think their mental models, their thinking about how things work in the real world.
Many are finding those same models have inadvertently limited their options, have boxed them in as leaders.

So regarding your people, it’s time to think way beyond “outside the box”.
Time, in fact, to stomp the box, and embrace new opportunities, new possibilities.


(Tempting, isn’t it?)

Be safe, stay healthy, and lead well.

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