COVID Diaries Week 16: Workplace Clash!

I have been reading far and wide to understand where the (post) COVID times organizational battlelines will be drawn. 

There have been some generally positive observations as working from home changes our workplace dynamics. 

Firstly, pretty much everyone has noted that organizations can be fairly nimble when needs must. Moreover, workers can be trusted when they must be trusted. The work will be done according to the needs of the business and the homelife mechanics of the workers. It’s not that complicated, it turns out.

As far as friction points go, we have seen the unsaid rules of engagement become more pronounced: balancing work-life demands is difficult at the best times; the burden of parental childcare falls most heavily on women. Nothing new, sadly.

Then, yesterday I finally saw a challenge that made perfect sense in its positing: 

can we “better” replicate the organization’s hierarchy in a Zoom call?!

Let the battle of ideas and practices commence!

Here we have old school organizational politics hit up against the social technology-led, remote workplace of COVID times. We don’t like it. We want the hierarchy to be respected. 

The HIPPO (highest paid person in the room) wants a bigger square than everyone else! Just like they want the corner office. Delicious. They want to be the last to enter the meeting room. Power play! Should we all stand when they do?

My Japanese is too poor to follow along natively, so I am relying on the tweeter’s translation. If true, we are starting to see the tensions emerge between what went before and emergent (and successful) practices.

For those of us who have introduced corporate social technology over the last 10+ years, this battle is nothing new, just reframed. Change warps the status quo, it enables some and enfeebles others. 

Which side of the change equation are you?

This Much We Know.

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