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Pause for Purpose

What is working and what isn’t?

By Stephanie W.

These days, it is important to always keep moving. COVID-19 has shattered the patterns of this world, and we have now entered into a new and evolving landscape of work. As we keep going, the biggest question remains. 

In keeping the course, have our goals changed?

Take a pause

We have acted fast in the crisis. Now let’s take time to stop what we’re doing. Because, as we know it, the goalposts have shifted. 

Take time to appreciate the voices that have come out of this experience. Some feedback may be pleasant, and some not so, but it is clear not all feedback will automatically be resolved once getting back to our workplaces. This is the best time to review gaps in systems and processes, to leave the encumbrances of politics behind, and to navigate communication lines anew.

As a whole, we are gaining greater control over how a day is structured, and starting to refigure our relationships with the office. It is not unusual now to say that being at the workplace could take on bigger risks, and at the same time, deeper meanings. This deep awakening is echoed by the multiplicity of discussions about what the future could look like for real-estate. Some companies have taken the plunge to extend work from home policies till 2021. Still, the question remains for you: What will Your New Normal be? How different from today is it going to be? 

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself through this change: 

  • What has changed?
  • What cannot change?
  • What are our key drivers and strategic assets that would help us thrive?
  • Do we need to unlearn prevailing definitions of productivity?
  • What opportunities do we see?

Take a step back

One huge takeaway from this period of agile & remote working is that we are all going to emerge with a new-found appreciation of what well-being truly means. We discover the nuances in caring for ourselves, and appreciating people, as our professional and personal identities rapidly converge into one space. This experience will extend into how well-being can be elevated in our work lives. Fundamentals are being addressed right now, as companies start beefing up employee safety at workspaces, implementing a series of best practices, hygiene protocols and contact tracing systems. These are quick-wins, inherently designed around keeping viruses at bay or contained, though limited to addressing surface concerns.

In stepping back to reconsider the different facets of well-being, that is not just about having a gym at the workplace, we become more aware of what makes us more human and less like machines at work. Creating the right conditions for our best physical or virtual selves will help us enable a culture of care and empowerment from within. 

As we start to reimagine the balance between work, office, responsibilities, and home, it is important to recognise there can be no one right answer. Taking a perspective of flexibility is key. By bringing together different points on the scale, these questions below can guide us towards a renewed culture of wellness and the behaviours that support it. 

  • What determines your work-life balance? Without clear spatial demarcations, how is balance achieved?
  • Has the concept of well-being shifted in light of COVID-19? How can we further explore well-being at work?
  • In what ways can we be supported in returning to work with a peace of mind?

Find your position, find your purpose

All this talk about well-being is great, but the world is cut-throat out there. The truth is many of us are grappling with fears in our daily work-life in relation to our leaders and the business. Agile & remote working may amplify our insecurities, and for others, this global crash course has been a time of revelation for our strengths and opportunities.  Where do you stand in the framework below? Plot your leaders and the organisation in the axis below – do they gravitate towards Business as Usual vs Future-State, Fear, vs Trust?

A framework developed by Paperspace over the course of 8-week Agile Working Research Training
Where you stand may be very different from where you will find your leaders and organisation.

It is tempting to aspire towards high-trust X future-state, but that may not be on the same playing field as where our organisation or leaders are. How can we explain the different positions, and start amalgamating the different points to a common ground?

This process of Pause with Purpose requires us to be open with ourselves, recognise our positions and make purposeful goals. The future may hold for us not One New Normal, but a lot more differentiation across how work gets done, thereby influencing what the workplace could be. We challenge you today to take a break from reading 101 articles, unlearn your usual ways of finding answers, and think about your purpose in the next 12 months. This moment of pause could be your turning point. 

In the second part of this series, we Pivot with Purpose and share what matters when employees’ and leaders’ perspectives collide.

Let's Have a Conversation

Paperspace is a collective of experienced strategists, designers, and change activists based in Singapore, Bangkok, Manila and India with expertise in Change Management, Design, and Workplace Strategy.

Submission Form (workplace adapt, Pause for.., Pivot)

Blog page

Let's Have a Conversation

Paperspace is a collective of experienced strategists, designers, and change activists based in Singapore, Bangkok, Manila and India with expertise in Change Management, Design, and Workplace Strategy.

Mapping Your Solution Form

Blog page