with Calli Louis, co-founder of Working Wonder
Lockdown has been a game changer for working culture. It came in like a whirlwind, threw normal life as we knew it, up in the air, and still hasn’t put us back firmly on the ground. Yet. And whilst that has, without a doubt, been unsettling and challenging for all of us, there have also been many positives.
But what is concerning is that despite those shining positives, many conversations around what’s going to happen next for our working lives, are focused on ‘going back to work’ or ‘going back to the office’. Focusing on the past and not the future, or even the now. And for us, that’s not a great starting place because:
Going back to work implies no one has been working during lockdown which simply isn’t true
Going back isn’t a great starting point - you wouldn’t encourage someone to start a race from a few metres back, or recommend that a friend return to a not-so-nice ex-partner
It’s not a great mindset because focusing on what was, doesn’t give you the opportunity or headspace to explore what could be.
At Working Wonder, we are big believers in the powers of positive psychology to drive lasting and transformational change and therefore instead of focusing on going back we encourage people to think about how they can go forwards to work. By doing so, it will put you in a much more positive mindset (or what we call Wonder Mindset) to explore new ways of doing things.
If you are fresh out of college/university, or in the first couple of years in your job, you may well be thinking, “yes, sounds good, but what can I do about it? I’m not a company leader, I’m not in a position to drive change”.
We would say, “yes you are!”
We would encourage you to think about the word fresh here. You are fresh out of college or fresh to a new role or company and you can use that as your greatest superpower. You bring a fresh perspective with you. New eyes with which to see things, unshackled by what has been before. And that’s hugely valuable when it comes to paving a new, exciting way forwards.
So how can you use your superpower to drive positive change and create a better working culture - for yourself and for everyone? Here are some suggestions:
It has been proven that if you are happy at work then your creativity and ability to problem solve increases three-fold, and you are 31% more productive*. In order to be happy at work it’s important to know what you want and need from both a role and a company. Understanding what motivates and what’s important is key to that as it will help you to make an informed decision about what roles you take and companies you work for.
Have confidence and use your voice
You may well be the newest person at the table but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t use your voice. You’ve been employed because someone believes in you and wants to hear what you’ve got to say. Be confident that you bring a fresh perspective and find moments to voice your opinions. And if you’re looking for a job, find ways to share through your social channels or during an interview about how you are invested in the bigger picture.
How you work or the cultural influences you have are different to those of your colleagues. How you engage with your peers, how you use technology, how you’ve experienced lockdown. Find relevant ways to share these experiences which may help unlock fresh thinking within yourself and others.
Share what you’ve learned during lockdown
Everyone’s lockdown has been different and you may have found amazing ways to unleash your creativity, your approach to how you work or what’s important to you. How have you managed to stay connected with people? Have you benefited from being in the fresh air?
Build not destroy
Be mindful that people have developed processes, systems and companies based on what they believed was the right thing to do and have worked hard to bring them to life. So, don’t go in like a bulldozer and rip things apart. Instead, evaluate, dig around and build on what’s been before and evolve things from there.
Find ways to engage in conversations beyond your day job. Does your company have any inclusivity committees? What is their commitment to flexible working? Get involved and play an active role in driving things forwards.
Don’t lose that fresh perspective and take the time to continue to learn and read. And make sure you are learning from a variety of people from different backgrounds so that you can ensure that your approach remains inclusive.
What happens next and how we go forwards is all of our responsibility and you will find huge value in getting involved. Lockdown has given us a real chance to create a working culture that is collaborative, creative, inclusive and flexible. One in which everyone can work wonders and for us, that’s what going forwards is all about.
*Gallup 2013 and American Psychological Association 2015 report.
Co-Founder Working Wonder
About Working Wonder
Working Wonder is a career coaching and training consultancy that believes everyone deserves to be happy and feel valued and fulfilled at work. They are passionate about empowering individuals and companies to be able to ‘work happy’ because it’s not only good for the soul but it makes good business sense too. Happiness at work increases creativity, productivity, problem solving capabilities, career prospects and creates a more engaged and motivated working culture.
They create a variety of leadership developmental training workshops, speaker events and career coaching programmes which build confidence and resilience, support people’s professional wellbeing and create positive and inclusive working cultures. Their approach combines Working Wisdom (pragmatic business tools and techniques) with a Wonder Mindset approach rooted in positive psychology to drive transformational change, improve performance and increase job satisfaction.