The Workplace - March 2019
What would we tell our 25-year-old self?
Over Christmas I found myself trying to explain to my parents how the world
of work has changed and if only I knew what I know now 20 years ago. They asked what I meant, and I found that I had made a statement without really asking myself the question. I have thought about it now and I have the answer… and I thought it was worth sharing.
Going to work 20 years ago: In for 7:30am, home for 9pm, no lunch (or a disguised five-minute sandwich at my desk), no phone calls to home, friends secondary, a rapid decline in fitness and wellness, and a complete neglect of anything other than my job. I would go back in time and change all of this.
Things stick with you. I always remember the words of my first boss Geraldine: “It’s never anybody else’s fault. If you see something that needs fixing, then fix it.” I love these words and they apply as much to the modern workplace as they did 20 years ago, but the old way of working certainly doesn’t.
We’ve all worked with colleagues who we think will go on to great ‘things’ or become the best version of themselves – only to see the opposite. They’ve become tired, disinterested, demotivated and leave the company – and even worse, for many they leave our industry. We then lose a talent pool that under different conditions would go on to make great contributions and become colleagues that do a super job, are great team members and invaluable to all. Maturity to our approach to looking after our people makes this now possible.
There really isn’t any need for presenteeism and the crazy hours of the past; return on input is diminishing. Enjoying free time and an emphasis on health undoubtedly strengthens performance. Giving our people the choice of when and where they want to work finally pushes the outdated practices of 20 years ago to the pages of history.
Twenty years ago, how we worked was consigned to an envelope of privacy; the thought of sharing our USPs [unique selling propositions] we all found offensive. Knowing what I know now I would have done the reverse. I would have shared, as we do now, our approach to looking after our people with everyone and the reason I set up MyLondonWorks. We could have made change quicker and changed the profile of our industry. We could have kept talent in our sector and made an even greater impact when helping our clients find great people. We could have started to create a world where we were all excited about going to work.
We don’t have to burn out to succeed. The message from Geraldine to ‘get things done’ will always remain the solution… so is to relax and recharge. It gives us our health, fitness, family, friends, and a greater opportunity and platform to succeed.
Guy Hayward – redefining the modern workplace CEO, Goodman Masson