Our takeaway from 2021: Dare to make demands

It’s been a tough year for most, but we look back at the year that’s passed and realise that some of the consequences of the pandemic have brought with them something positive, after all – and contributed with valuable insights.

Being able to work from home is of course a luxury not all workers in all sectors can enjoy. For our staff members, however, it has been possible, and it has contributed with a number of benefits. More flexibility has contributed to a better work/life balance. The juggling of everyday life has been made simpler with regards to everything from collection from preschool to less time spent in a car or on public transport – a victory not least for the environment.

As a business, we’ve also realised that we don’t need premises as big as we’ve always previously had. If our employees are happier with a different type of working life, why would we deny them that and fork out on an office environment that could, in reality, look entirely different and cost a whole lot less? If we reconsider our preconceptions about office environments and free up resources, we can invest in other areas in this new kind of working life, like for instance in the form of job aids and other supports.

So what happens when we think again and the day-to-day of the working life takes a new shape?

We’ve known for a long time that communication is paramount in the workplace for employees to feel involved and valued. That can mean short, digital morning sessions and briefings about the day’s priorities or agenda, a close dialogue between staff and management, or regular updates about the growth and direction of the organisation. We work proactively to try to adapt the communication to suit each individual’s needs. Some thrive on brief but regular check-ins while others need more space to work independently – and it’s our job as an employer to offer both.

There’s one aspect of our communications work, however, that it’s become increasingly clear to us throughout the pandemic that we need to prioritise and make sure to do well: daring to make demands. And despite what some might think, this has nothing to do with us not trusting our employees when they’re working from home. But we know that their work is made a whole lot easier if there are clear aims and objectives in terms of priorities, goals and focus. Our staff can work really hard day in and day out, but if they’re not sure whether what they’re doing is really right or if they don’t know how to prioritise their tasks, the results just won’t be all that great.

Clear goals contribute to success and wellbeing

A lack of clarity leads to uncertainty and stress. For some, the result is lowered self-esteem and a reluctance to take responsibility, and for others it becomes an incredibly exhausting situation with risks such as burnout. By making clear demands and setting clear goals, we can help our staff to work independently and at the same time radically reduce stress. Never before has this been as obvious as during the pandemic.

By making clear demands and setting clear goals, our aim is to highlight the value of each individual staff member and their work. With a close dialogue and shared goal setting, we can make it fun to work towards shared as well as individual goals. That way, everyone can enjoy a better work/life balance without having to feel inadequate in our work – because we know where we’re going, and we know that, even if we’re on our own in our home office, we’re going there together.