Guest blog by, Kristin M. Reed, Workplace Strategist – Engagement Influencer – Experience Champion – Trusted Partner

Seven of the workplace trust questions I believe are key to address in our efforts to define a future of work, perhaps a future “normal”.

Our definitions vary, but I believe I am not alone when I say I am anxious for a return to something that feels normal. That feels stable. SecureConnected. Fun. With digestible levels of risk, change, and control.

Something that I can trust will just go back to… something I didn’t have to worry about.

Today, I made a mental list of things that I used to take for granted – trust – without a second thought, that I do not trust today. The doorknob on our neighborhood gate: can I place my un-gloved hand on it? The neighborhood market: will the basic necessities that I need most be on the shelf? My family: will tomorrow bring healthy breathing and healthy thinking? My budget: will my savings strategy carry me through this economy? My work: will my work look and feel the same tomorrow? Will my team be okay? My ability to discern: how do I know that I really know the in’s-and-out’s of this COVID virus and how to protect myself and others?

Suddenly, these little things feel like gigantic overwhelming personal and professional challenges. Suddenly, we have a whole new set of life concerns and trust questions that are part of our work-life spectrum.

As we begin to turn our attention to what’s next – particularly, how and when will we return to work places and work points – we’re faced with a difficult reality. Along with the top-of-mind issues such as occupancy schedules, cleaning protocols, work point seat spacing, and cost optimization of real estate, it is equally imperative that we examine the realities of our hearts and minds.

Our relationship with trust. In what we bring to work, what we take from work, and what we expect from each other.

Many business leaders are dealing with obstacles ranging from cashflow to supply chain issues to disruptions to their industry. But they’ve also been gifted the chance to better understand what motivates their employees and build accountability. This can foster a culture of empathy, resilience and openness that can see their workforce thrive.

No matter your job role – whether you’re a CEO, a corporate real estate professional, a human resources professional, an IT professional, and every employee role among those examples – you’ll have to re-establish your level of trust. Sure, our relationship with trust is in a constant state of flux but which factors might affect our most basic levels of trust at work in the next six months? One year? Ten years?

Here are seven of the workplace trust questions I believe are key to address in our efforts to define a future of work, perhaps a future “normal”:

  • How has the organization’s culture and attributes reinforced my ability to easily trust that the environment will be safe? That I will not take home anything I did not have when I came to work?
  • How strong are the relationships – how well do I know and trust – those whom I will interact face-to-face most often?
  • In an era where we press forward for a personalized work experience where data are used to inform place, tools, and process that are curated for me (i.e. IoT experience), will I continue to want that automatically-curated experience or will I want full user control of it? Or something in-between?
  • Why do I have to come into a physical place to work, now that I’ve flattened the learning curve for remote work? Or, now that I require much more flexibility in how and when I work?
  • How will my personal health information be protected in a physical workplace or settings where my personal health is monitored?
  • How will the level of transparency around the strategy and structure of, among other things, work process and place policies help me understand how to do my best work with the place, tools, and resources available to me?
  • How can the physical workplace or the adoption of a choice in work styles mitigate possible deep-seeded trust questions?

About the Author:

Kristin M. Reed, Workplace Strategist – Engagement Influencer – Experience Champion – Trusted Partner