Hopeful. This is a word that consistently comes up in conversations as I talk with our people, clients and peer firm leaders. Hopeful for a return to offices, schools, restaurants and maybe even travel in the near future. While there are many reasons to be optimistic, others may have anxiety about what this “new normal” might look like.
At DHG, we know things will never go back to how they were. From consistently listening to our people over the past year, we know that some are not in a rush to re-enter the office environment and are thriving in the virtual world, while others miss the face-to-face interactions and are ready to return to our offices and clients.
We are using these insights to evolve our workplace to align with the flexibility our team members desire – from being in the office daily to fully working from home and somewhere in between. We call this new plan, DHG Anywhere. It is our plan to provide our team members “Freedom within a Framework.” As we prepare for this change – we all will need to continue to strengthen our adaptability and accountability muscles. While the rapid 2020 pivot to a virtual work environment helped us strengthen our adaptability and accountability, we know that these skills will be critical to carry us into the future as our world and our profession evolves.
Here are a few ways we can each prepare for the future of work and the transition to DHG Anywhere:
- It might seem obvious, but a good starting point is understanding that adaptability is here to stay.
Until March 2020, our world had never dramatically shifted so quickly. Now that we have lived and learned so much over the past year, we understand that things will not always be the same. As a result, we must learn to be adaptable to effectively react to change. The ability to be creative and flexible in the face of new situations are critical elements of adaptability. Witnessing how our people have adapted to great change, both at home and in work life, over this past year has been remarkable. We have given and extended grace to one another, and ourselves, when circumstances did not turn out as we expected. We are committed to providing our people with the support and resources they need as we all work on cultivating adaptability into the future.
- Find someone or a team to help you with accountability.
This is advice I often give, and it is applicable to many aspects of life – never depend solely on yourself for accountability. When I have a big deadline or project, I always reach out to members of the Senior Leadership Team to hold me accountable, whether it is ensuring my work is well thought out or just ensuring that I meet deadlines. When I set goals or encounter a challenge, I am more likely to be successful if I have accountability partners. When thinking about the hybrid workforce, connectivity will need to be a two-way street. We will all need to be deliberate in connecting and engaging with others – and holding one another accountable – as we might not bump into each other as frequently in the office. Teams and individuals can hold each other accountable for professional and personal “touch-bases” to keep this special part of DHG’s culture strong as we transition to a new way of working.
- Refresh your goals, priorities and objectives every 90 days.
The “accountability cycle” has been put into warp speed during the pandemic. For many personal goals and organizational priorities, historically we would look to revisit progress annually. Now, some things are shifting daily. This is certainly a test of adaptability but if you get in the habit of revisiting your projects, progress and results every 90 days, it makes it much easier to recognize areas for improvement and to pivot in a different direction, as needed.
- Think Teams first.
Our ONE DHG focus has always been about prioritizing ourselves with others. As we prepare for a hybrid workplace, we must work harder than ever to focus on our teams, our clients and our firm. We all play an important role on our broader teams and this mindset helps keep us accountable. This way of thinking about others and our own cumulative impact can be a helpful way to stay on track and progress forward.
- Do not forget to take care of yourself.
As we are focused on the next chapter of our workplace and setting goals for the future, do not overlook taking care of yourself. The pandemic has made it even harder to stop working and to create boundaries with the blur of home and work life. It takes accountability to carve out the time you need for yourself – this could be for exercise, drinking your morning coffee without email or planning time away to recharge and recover. This should remind us of our Energy for Life principles to align your energy with your values and beliefs, and to use your energy where it matters most. For me, this means I need to make the time to exercise to relieve anxiety and to provide mental clarity.
I am looking forward to sharing more details of DHG Anywhere, our plans for Freedom within a Framework, in the near future, and am excited for DHG to continue our Firm of the Future journey.