Can you hear that sound? It is the sound of people very slowly being dragged back into the office five days a week. They are clinging onto their newly decorated home office spaces and looking longingly at their nespresso machine but slowly and surely the pressure is on to return to “normal” life. The summer is over, the kids are back in school and office life is on trend.
Covid upended the working world. All sort of jobs in which it was completely unimaginable to do from home all of sudden had to be done from home. As I have written before however it was not covid which enabled remote working for office workers it was the internet. The ability was always there just the will wasn’t. And will, the desire to do something, is a little like culture; you can’t see it but it is actually the most important thing in the room.
I once worked for a very brief and dismal spell in an unhappy HR department in a stagnant organisation. Coming from Tech I was not used to how things were “done” in this particular organisation. I quickly learned however that my main job was to say no. So if someone came to me with an exciting and interesting proposal it was never allowed because it was “setting a precedent”. It didn’t matter what the proposal was, it could have been an ingenious plan to retain talent, treble profit and slash operating costs it simply couldn’t be done because it would involve “setting a precedent”. Setting a precedent is of course just a nice way of sighing inwardly, saying we really couldn’t be bothered doing the work involved and couldn’t we just keep things the way they are?
And so it is with hybrid working. It is harder to manage, it needs you to work at it, to invest in training and most importantly it needs you to be innovative and flexible, to work with individuals but also manage the core of the business and keep the organisation energised. It is hard and it is the exact opposite of just keeping things the way they are. An inability to manage hybrid working competently is not just a lack of skills but also I believe a sign of greater stagnation within an organisation. An innovative culture, will, desire to do something different are all lacking and working in an office five days a week is an outward sign of that. The result? The slow attrition of top talent and a lack of innovation all round.
Till next time,

The brilliant Australian comedy Fisk follows a middle age woman launching a new life after her husband left her for an older woman. It is perfect TV, hillarious and only 30 minutes long.
The very funny Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Seinfeld fame has launched a podcast featuring older women called “Wiser then Me”. Just when you think the podcast market must be completely saturated along this comes a very clever take, the hour long episode features older women sharing their wisdom, unsuprisingly the episode with Jane Fonda is a cracker.
Everything. A long glorious summer of books, no doubt helped by the rain and the deletion of LinkedIn and Insta the first day of the summer holidays. One of my favourites was Yellowface by R.F. Kuang with a very well written tale which delves into racism, cultural appropriation and the publishing industry. It is witty, fast paced and makes you think. On the other side of the spectrum I absolutely hated “Strange Sally Diamond” by Liz Nugent. Everyone in my book club loved it so I am out on my own here.