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Hybrid working: planning for the future
Hybrid working: planning for the future

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2.1 Managing expectations

It is also important to manage expectations, taking a human-centred design approach to futures planning. While this may feel like a challenge to balance the needs of the organisation to the needs of individuals and teams, it can help build empathy within an organisation, create better experiences, and build resilience to and trust in change. As a result, the organisation’s culture enables confidence to try new ways of working, learn and evolve.

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Figure 10 Putting people first

Human-centred design is a creative approach to problem solving that starts with the needs of the user, emphasises the importance of diverse perspectives, and encourages solution-seeking among multiple actors. It consists of five phases: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. What differentiates human-centred design from other problem-solving approaches is its focus on understanding the perspective of the person who experiences a problem most acutely.

(UNDP, n.d., Human-Centered Design )

This involves observing, using empathy to explore the problem further, to uncover what at first might not be obvious, generating ideas, with test-and-learn activities to gather feedback, prior to implementing a potential solution.

You may have noted when exploring future trends that individual personal expectations of working have changed, having had to adapt to hybrid working environments and living through lockdowns. For organisations this has meant they are having to re-evaluate the employee value proposition and experience. Many employees in a position to do so, have simply left organisations that do not align with their values or expectations, and prospective candidates are now often in a position to be more selective when choosing to work for an organisation.

Those within organisations being asked to adjust to new ways of working equally will have expectations that may not now align to the needs of the business, especially if they were recruited during a lockdown period. In addition, the impact on leaders and managers needs to be supported as those responsible for managing others and implementing change often are at the front line of managing expectations of all stakeholders.

People must be considered in any planning activity and as a futures planner you will need to work with appropriate teams to ensure that your strategy reflects what is possible within your organisation.