How to Connect in the New Era of Business

We’ve entered a new era in business. COVID-19 was the crisis we didn’t know we needed as millions worldwide shifted to working remotely. The deep dive into the unknown jolted us out of our collective complacency, reminding us that life is precious, and nothing is guaranteed.

Families, long disconnected by work, school, and extracurricular activities, were forced together in ways not seen in generations. In places like Melbourne, one of the most locked down cities in the world, it triggered a rethink of priorities for many people.

Someone has said you don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it. And it seems equally true that you don’t know what you’ve lost until you unexpectedly find it again.

We’d lost out on interconnectedness through an institutionalised model of business and life. The current revolution is taking us back to the family model. This revolution extends from the workplace to schools. According to McCrindle Research, COVID-19 saw 88% of families in Australia engage in online schooling, with 71% of parents reporting a positive experience.

Since the easing of restrictions and the normalising of the new hybrid normal homeschooling rates across Australia are rising. Victoria, Tasmania, and the ACT also offer part-time schooling, allowing students to split their study across onsite and from home.

Parents are rethinking how they do life, challenging the status quo, and looking for a lifestyle in line with their family values that nurture connectedness.


Businesses must embrace flex.

Add to this the great resignation, which has seen one in five Australians change career, and it’s clear we’ve entered a new era. Businesses everywhere must come to grips with a workforce valuing family, connectedness, and job flexibility over company and career loyalty. Gone are the days of bosses demanding unquestioning and exclusive dedication from employees. Instead, workers, particularly Gen Y and Gen Z, are all about the side hustle and passion projects, with part-time and divided loyalties the norm.

Company culture over career

Equally, the new breed of employees cares more about whom they work for than what they do. They crave connection and collaboration. They want to work for a company whose purpose aligns with their values while giving them flexibility. They want more than a paycheck from their employer; they want to contribute to a greater whole.

Culture happens whether you’re intentional or not. If you want people to value what you value, taking time to develop and foster the culture of your business is vital. For example, do you value family time? Create a cultural document that states your value, and then make sure you model it for your employees. Authenticity matters more than ever, and empty words will hurt more than your brand.


Fostering creativity through flexibility

While many seek flexibility for work-life balance, the benefits of offering employees flexible working conditions are far-reaching. Networking and cross-pollination opportunities are available to those willing to go with the flow of the new era.

It may initially feel counterintuitive, but for those who will take a risk on their people, the evidence is mounting that the tangible rewards include increased creativity and productivity. Flexible working environments, where employees have room for family, passion projects, and the ability to work with rather than against their natural rhythm, produce wins for business bottom lines.

If you’re in two minds about the benefits, think of it this way; would you rather get five years of three days a week from an employee or two years of five days a week? The first two years with a new employee usually cost money. Training,
developing familiarity with your business and brand, and learning to work in a team all take time and money.

The reality is that you’ll start getting your best work from people after a couple of years. Your chances of keeping your best and brightest increase exponentially if they’re given space to prioritise family, pursue passion projects, and work to the strengths of their creative process. Employers who’ve walked this route find that it dramatically reduces employee reluctance and resentment while encouraging innovation.

Stay Connected

Staying connected is simultaneously simpler and more complex in the information age. Now is the time to embrace the advantages of technology and make it work for you and your team. Do that, and your customers and clients will reap the benefits of a dynamic, relational, solution-focused business.

"Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to."


Andee Sellman

Andee Sellman is the Founder of Rest & Rhythm and is dedicated to helping people discover their unique rest and rhythm personally and professionally.

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