INTHEBLACK July 2020 - Page 29



F E AT U R E
// P H YS I C A L W O R K P L A C E S
AS S TA F F A R E W E L C O M E D B A C K T O T H E I R O F F I C E S , W E C A N E X P E C T A D R A M AT I C
– A N D T I M E LY – S H I F T I N T H E U S E A N D P U R P O S E O F W O R K P L A C E S .
THE
WORKPLACE
REVOLUTION
STORY CHRIS SHEEDY
H
istorically, the biggest changes in
society tend to occur after a major
disruption. As humans, we become
comfortable with a certain way of doing
things, and when individuals suggest
dramatic change, their ideas are perceived
as fringe. However, when an upheaval
occurs – a world war, a financial crisis or
a pandemic – those same ideas quickly
become mainstream and sensible, rather
than radical.
There is a good chance that major change
could occur in offices over the next few
months, says Rhonda Brighton-Hall, HR
thought leader and founder and director of
mwah (making work absolutely human).
34 ITB July 2020
If this change does occur, she says, it is not
a moment too soon.
“We designed the way we’ve been working
in the 1860s,” says Brighton-Hall, a Telstra
Businesswoman of the Year national award
winner and former director of the Australian
HR Institute.
“Working an eight-hour day, five days a
week, and accepting that everybody must
fit into this model has been crazy for a long
time. Along the way, everything in the entire
world changed, but the strict rules around
how we work never did.
“It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not how we
work best. It’s not how we think best. It’s not
how we contribute best. We lost the essence
of what work is, and instead got stuck in a
ritual of what work should look like. It hasn’t
worked for a long time, and I’m glad we’ve
now been forced to look at other options.”
Those other, post-pandemic options
have begun to be expressed in various
announcements, such as news from social
media giant Twitter and from mobile
payments company Square (both share
the same CEO) that all employees will
now be able to choose to work from home,
permanently. It’s not just tech firms that are
joining the remote working revolution. Such
options are also being explored by leaders
within numerous other types of businesses
as they survey their staff about their return.
intheblack.com July 2020 35

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