WFH? Not so fast

Process, Work

A movement is forming around the future of work; saying goodbye to the office in return for unrestricted flexibility to work from wherever whenever and however you might choose. It’s the future, damn it!

First of all, I will always be very reluctant to base any long term strategy on a short term experience of what happens, when you make the switch. Add to that that the switch was forced due to Covid-19 and add all the stress elements of anxiety, having to keep kids at home while trying to work etc, and to me it is just a big NO GO!

It’s just a poor way of using data. Almost fraudulent. Especially if you have the well-being of the people, you’re trying to determine the future of work for at heart.

Second, I strongly believe in working together – also in a physical sense. A lot of the work I do and do with others is centered around creativity, open discussions, listening to arguments and finding the best course of action going forward. I find it super hard to replicate sitting at my kitchen table versus being present in the office with the others on our team. But that’s just me.

What is not just me is the thing about workplace culture.

Let’s for a second forget that going completely WFH effectively eliminate all discussion about work-life-balance, because we take away the one thing that keeps things kind of separate for us – the commute. That’s a problem in itself.

No, the real problem is how we create a great company culture, if we’re never together? Culture is not something that happens at bi-weekly all hands meetings or the annual company picnic. It happens every day in your interactions – little and big – with your colleagues around why it is you come to work every day:

You need to see your great colleagues, your need to figure out great solutions together, your need to know and really FEEL that you’re together in creating whatever it is that your company is working to create – the big “why?”

Even though a lot of leaders talk about the importance of having a great company culture, a lot of companies still ultimately rely on people figuring the culture part out themselves and keeping it alive at the water cooler, the small chit chats and whatever else you have, where you can meet informally and bond.

That is super, super hard to do remote. It least if you care about having a team where the “why?” matters.

And that brings me to the final point:

There are lots of roles, where it makes sense to go predominantly WFH; some very well-defined roles, where you essentially have a tasklist, you can work yourself through on a daily basis, be done and call it a day knowing that somehow your contribution fits into the corporate hamsterwheel of things.

But by and large – for ordinary jobs in ordinary companies (and be honest, those are the 99,9 % of all companies) – the “why?” goes out the window during this process.

You can give people all the flexibility in the world that you want. But once everybody starts doing that, it seizes to be an advantage.

And you will be stuck with the downsides;

It will be as easy for your employees to leave as it was to onboard them. Because nothing is going to be holding them back:

They don’t have a real relationship with your company. They don’t really know the people they work with. They (probably) have an even more crap manager than in the office, because managing remote is even harder than in the physical space). And they are distanced from the mission, the “why?”

What’s not to leave behind for greener pastures?

A WFH defacto for work going forward will do nothing else than (1) make it harder for the vast majority of mediocre companies to make great things happen and (2) make it near impossible to keep the people that go the extra mile to see the vision come true as a true team effort while (3) all along giving the false sense of relief that everything is flexible, fine and dandy.

Choose WFH at your own peril.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Corona thoughts, Part 6

Thoughts

A lot of people are busy talking about how the current pandemic and the lockdown will change the way we live and the way we work going forward.

Focusing on the latter, some people suggest that the time of the office hours is dead, and that more people will be working remotely from hereon, because it is so much more efficient.

A word of caution: Don’t use the behaviour during times of great stress to extrapolate what will happen, when things get back to something resembling a normal situation again. People are right now fighting from a distance for their businesses and their next paycheck. That may seem like a lot of efficience but in reality it is just stress with extra stress and in no way something that is sustainable for the longer term.

All leaders thinking the opposite will – by and large and with a few exceptions to cement the rule – in the long term have a hard time recruiting anybody since through their actions they have shown a complete disregard for the human needs that is also part of what enables us as workers to do a great job.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Get the outside view

Process

If you’re stuck in whatever you’re doing or trying to accomplish, look outside your team and get an outside view on what you’re doing and where you should be taking things.

True, the person you approach may not be a subject matter expert like yourself. But on the other hand the person is also not so deep into the matter, as you are and may thus very well be able to see things a lot more clearly.

And it is that new clarity that you need for yourself, your team and – ultimately – your business. It may be just what the doctor ordered in order to get you out of your current predicament and onto a greater and better trajectory.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Remote humans

Thoughts

Working remotely is getting a lot of additional buzz following the outbreak of corona-virus, as people all over scramble to try to put themselves out of harms way and/or following the advice of local health authorities.

While there is a lot of great things to be said about working remotely – and there are – there are also some downsides of which the predominant one is this: Missing out on the creative sparks that fly when you bring people together, and they start getting creative.

For me, when people (in the absence of a perfectly legitimate health-related excuse, ed) want to work in a predominantly remote way, they send a signal that they care more about their ways of working than what we are working on; what we are trying to solve. Call me old fashioned, but I am the kind of guy who needs to be able to look my team members directly in the eyes to make sure we are all on the same page, driving for the same results – and feel equally passionate about succeeding. As a team.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

We’re hiring!

News

At inQvation we have a lot of different projects in the pipeline. This includes a couple of projects that we feel strongly about in terms of potential to become new, great startups.

In order get these projects to market, I am hiring a new frontend developer for the Studio team. The right candidate has a couple of years of hands-on experience, an efficient toolbox and a personality that just want to ship things and see what happens in the market.

We work very experiment driven, so we will be doing everything from landing pages to MVPs (and potentially beyond if the project is right), and there is amble opportunity to have a personal impact on the work that we do as a team. We are ambitious, celebrate success and learn from failure, and if that sounds like a lot of fun for you too, then apply today!

(Photo: Shutterstock.com)

Welcome, Alita!

News

Today is a special day at inQvation Studio. Today is the day where Alita Juzene joins us as our new Growth Designer.

Alita has a background as graphic designer specialized in digital concept development, and in the team she will be on point to help us bring our ideas to life, one experiment at a time.

In her new role Alita is going to be a super addition to the team, and I can’t wait to get down to work on the projects that are already lined up.

A big and warm WELCOME!

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Join us!

Work

If you are interested in working with turning ideas into viable startups, I have the perfect opportunity for you: Apply to become Growth Designer in our Studio team at inQvation.

We never know, when we start out with an idea, if it is going to fly or come crashing down on us. That is why we will be spending a lot of time and energy building, launching and analyzing experiments for a whole variety of ideas with the clear ambition to get to the real outstanding ones that truly stick and can form the basis for a worldclass startup. This is what we need you – our new Growth Designer – to help us with.

In order to be a good fit for the role, you need to be a teamplayer with a capital T. You need a decent toolbox for getting things done (pragmatism seriously valued), a solid curiosity coupled with tenacity. And a real ‘Can/Will Do!’ attitude to your work. We are ambitious, fast moving and just generally like to explore, build businesses and have fun doing so. So if it sounds like a fit, apply TODAY! I look forward to hearing from you.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Customer #1

Modelling

The other day I sat down with one of our investments to discuss their potential future direction. It was an interesting and productive session with some key questions arising during the conversation. One of those discussions was around who the customer actually is?

If you’re developing a B2B solution, is your customer the company, you want to sell to, or the person(s) actually making the buying decision? The answer has huge implications. Because it has a big bearing on how you frame your value proposition, how you go to market and what you need to do to close deals and show value after the purpose.

My general opinion is that the more you can focus on the one customer – the actual person – the better. The more you try to put a value proposition together for companies and teams, the more watered down it risk being because you have to fit too many different needs into just a single box. When you focus on just Customer #1, you can be really razor-sharp. And that is exactly what you need.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

It takes a team to win

Process

Great teams succeed together. A team full of individual stars lacking coordination and communication between the various positions fail no matter how good and expensive they individually are.

If those things are true in sports, does it come as a surprise that it goes for corporate innovation as well? A great football manager knows that in order to be successful with the team you recruit for players who fit the team and style of play centered around a shared philosophy for how the team should play – and win.

Greg Satell does a good job of noting the reasons why most corporate innovation teams fail. I think in many cases it can be boilt down to team – or the lack thereoff. Instead of building new teams, you should be focusing on augmenting the strengths you already have that have made your company successful so far. Succeeding in innovation is and always will be a team effort.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Progress report – May 2019

News

It’s been a month since I joined inQvation Studio, and what a month it has been; fastpaced, fun and with a lot of excitement about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

I have spent the month catching up on all the thinking that has gone into building the Studio idea. Furthermore I have been fortunate enough to be able to contribute to a couple of projects already, and I am very grateful of how that has turned out and the feedback, I have received. There are just cool, skilled, fun and generous people all over, and I never grow tired of people who passionately care about what we are all doing together.

On top of that we have spent some time getting bits and pieces in play that will help us in our exploration work going forward. Essentially we’re preparing for takeoff full well knowing that (more than) one or two things will go very differently than according to plan. The coming months will have us launch properly and will show whether we can make our trajectory. Based on the first month, I am very optimistic. Onwards and upwards.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)