Amazon recently reported that with their return to work plans, they are no longer doing one single organizational policy; they’re instead leaving the decision up to their directors, at the team level. And this absolutely makes sense, because what we already know to be true is that many other facets of the organization live at the team level, including culture.
And culture is a really big predictor of what that work from home or work in the office policy should be. When I was working in a remote office on the west coast for my corporate job, we were unfortunately going through a really bad period of turmoil; the environment was really negative. Yet, I was having a conversation with my peer, who was based out of our corporate office on the east coast.
She was sharing how they had been going through some team-building exercises, that there was all of this collaboration happening, and I’m sitting on the opposite coast, in this toxic environment, absolutely miserable. Yet, if there had been somebody interviewing at our company and had spoken to both of us, we would have had two completely different answers in terms of what the culture was.
So when we have team-level happenings, team-level environments, that’s where decision-making should be happening. Now, if you are in a situation where you’re not seeing team level, you’re not seeing that empowerment for choice, start asking! There’s all too often where a big broad policy is put into place and everyone just goes along with it, and nobody thinks about asking questions.
So if you are concerned about broad policy changes or policies that are put into effect, and you want to see things living more at the team level, where there’s more flexibility and choice to be made, then bring that up! Empower yourself to begin asking the questions, to see where things could potentially be changed. Don’t take things for face value and assume that the way it has been put out is the only way that it can live. So today, take action; ask and see where you can find places for choices to be made and for decisions to be held at the team level.