Author, speaker, and journalist, Harriet Minter, is a hybrid work consultant specialising in ‘revolutionising the workspace’. Harriet supports businesses in adopting a hybrid working model and increasing workplace diversity. In this episode of the IRIS Pod, Tom, our COO, and Harriet discuss the benefits and challenges in the global shift towards hybrid working and ways to promote diversity and inclusion within it.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation…
"Your brain does not switch on the second you hit your office in the middle of the City of London."
Harriet has been the driving force behind empowering companies to adopt remote working for many years. She has educated companies on how remote working can increase productivity and inclusion but has faced pushback along the way with claims that a hybrid working model would not work for their industry.
‘Being able to work remotely is about trust, what we're seeing now is this disconnect between employee and employer’ - Employees want to be trusted to work remotely but employees aren't entirely ready to let go of the apron strings.
"The interesting thing for me about human connection is that when we are in person with people, we can't filter out the bad stuff."
Working online means that you can switch off easily and avoid those traits we might not always like in others. The colleague who taps their pen, the person who talks over others in meetings and the one who stops by your desk every time they pass though the office. But, it's also the stuff that teaches us to grow and develop as humans. It teaches us empathy, it teaches us patience, it teaches us kindness.
"I worry that if we ended up in a fully virtual world we would lose all of that stuff."
"To really understand somebody on a Zoom meeting, you've got to listen to them, you've got to lean into them [...] We have to be more thoughtful and we have to communicate more clearly. And that's great. That as humans, is something we could all do with a bit more of."
Online meetings do come with pitfalls, it’s not a perfect replacement for in-person meetings but often they do make us work a little harder to engage with people and that can only be a good thing.
"Technology has made our world smaller."
We are able to plan meetings with people we wouldn't otherwise have been able to connect with so easily. It makes them more accessible and much easier to plan.
"I loved IRIS Clarity, being able to strip out the background noise."
Investing in great tech is a surefire way to support your team when working in a busy office or even remotely.
We’d all like to ditch the office and work from Bali, but what is the next logical step in being able to work remotely?
"When you're looking at things from a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion perspective, the number one thing you have to do at all times is challenge your assumption."
For example we shouldn’t assume that just because someone is applying for a job in a tech role that they have the tech necessary to to attend an online interview. In theory, online interviews mean that people can apply for these jobs from anywhere but we have to be aware of the fundamental buy-in level of that.
Where is the community if it’s not in the office?
"If I was a shared workspace entrepreneur, I would be starting to think about how I put those shared workspaces in countryside settings so that I can actually bring people from local areas together. I think that is what we haven't worked out yet."
Finally... it’s true, a handbag really can change your life…
04:32 | It took a global pandemic to make remote working more accessible
6:32 | Trust in the workplace.
16:08 | In the office, you can't filter out your colleagues' annoying habits.
17:19 | Technology has made our world smaller
18:25 | We have to be more thoughtful and we have to communicate more clearly.
22:33 | How do we find our rhythm and flow in those settings where we aren’t all together around a table?
26:00 | Harriet describes what she predicts the next evolutionary step of hybrid working will be.
29:35 | When we talk about tech and inclusion we need to be really aware of the fundamental buy in level of that
34:00 | Where is the community if it’s not in the office?
39:11 | ‘Are you familiar with the concept of the Hermes Birkin, Tom?’
on her website: http://harrietminter.com/