Why intentionality matters - Deepstash

Why intentionality matters

The truth is once you’re in a physical place, osmosis tends to happen because you’re sitting near someone. Organizations may need to work harder to ensure their employees do continue to learn from each other. 

  • One solution is to leave less learning to chance You can’t just expect everyone to be in the office and somehow osmosis happens. You've got to intentionally design space differently, you’ve got to intentionally design proximity differently and thirdly you’ve got to intentionally design encounters.
  • Ensure that people have the encounters critical to meaningful learning rather than leaving them to chance. When you're going to a board meeting, make sure you take a junior person along’. These are incredibly important ways of learning.

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MORE IDEAS FROM The problem with losing 'osmosis learning'

The power of observation

Observing and chatting with colleagues helps us gain valuable knowledge. Employers recognize how important it is to enable workers to learn from each other, on an ongoing, informal basis.

Popular learning models have tended to suggest that 20% of our learning about a job comes from observing others, although newer research suggests that figure could be even higher. 

Of course, everyone needs formalized training when they join a team, on things like software or legal processes. But there are also the less obvious things to learn, like how do you fix that error message that pops up all the time? Who is the most helpful person in the IT team? Is it OK to wander over to the marketing team for a chat? Why do we work with this company but not that one?

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This means building a system that really thinks about what knowledge each worker needs for the job they’re doing, who they need to spend time with to gain it, and how that knowledge can be shared even more widely, so everyone benefits – wherever they are working.

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As we emerge from the pandemic and begin to adjust to how workplaces have changed, whether by embracing different forms of hybrid or allowing far more staff to work remotely, we will of course depend more on technology to interact with our colleagues.

Recent technological developments have revolutionized how well we can work and also socialize with our colleagues.

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LYNDA GRATTON

An office isn’t really a physical location, it’s a place of connectivity.

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The ‘nice to haves’

It’s widely known the pandemic has made many people re-evaluate their working lives. Employers are well aware, and many are scrambling for new ways to retain employees. One technique for those companies who want to lure their people back is to promise them a more enticing workplace

But people working at home have managed just fine – and remained productive – without free coffee and massages. Many are also less stressed. But the downside of homeworking, for some, has been the isolation, or juggling work around family duties or housemates. So, a tempting office will be one that is an extension of your home, but without the chaos, offering an environment, social atmosphere or technological provision that can’t be found elsewhere.

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Remote work has given us more autonomy

As the pandemic required employees to work remotely, one of the most striking changes was increased worker's autonomy. Many people became used not to have a boss looking over their shoulder or watching their every move.

A more autonomous environment meant employees could control where they sit or how they prioritise tasks. They could intersperse life activities with job activities. But, as the world returns to the offices, employees are expected to give up some of that control.

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If and when you return to your office after the pandemic, you'll probably notice some changes.

  • The doors of the building may open automatically, so you don't have to touch the handles.
  • You may tell the elevator where to stop, rather than pressing buttons.
  • You may walk into a room full of dividers and well-spaced desks.
  • Meeting rooms and kitchens may have fewer chairs.
  • There may be more frequent cleaning policies and better ventilation systems.

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