Sue Phillips knows her stuff when it comes to creativity and innovation. As Ipsos MORI's Global Head For Insight, she has needed to lead teams, worldwide, during the pandemic to keep innovating and making a difference for their clients.
In this inspirational interview, Sue shares what she has learned about consciously creating innovation in remote meetings, how to design your organisation's hybrid working framework, and how to avoid FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) making your star performers leave:
Creativity & Innovation With Hybrid Working
What We Cover In This Interview:
- What have you and your teams learned about fostering creativity and innovation during pandemic remote working and how will you be running that with hybrid working?
- What is your advice for handling hybrid meetings, with some people in the room and some not?
- How can we be making the most of our time in the office together? (i.e. not just schlepping the laptop into the office to do what we could have done at home)
- How do we make sure that hybrid working is fair and doesn’t discriminate against any particular group, e.g. working mothers of school-aged children?
- "You can't build a team on Zoom" - what can we be doing instead?
Sue Phillips is Global Head Of Insight for Ipsos MORI and leads their Women's Network.
Watch The Interview:
The video and podcast have captions. Here's the transcript:
[00:00:08.740] - Clare Josa
Good morning, hello, thank you for taking the time today. I am thrilled to introduce Sue Phillips from Ipsos Mori. She is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to creativity and innovation. She's global head of Insight's Ipsos Mori. She's an absolute specialist in the creativity and innovation and how we've had to adapt this with hybrid work. She's also the lead of the women in Ipsos, so she's absolutely passionate about making sure that everybody's included and nobody misses out. However, we are working.
[00:00:41.500] - Clare Josa
So, Sue, welcome and thank you so much for joining us today.
[00:00:45.280] - Sue Phillips
Thank you very much for having me on. It's great to be here with you to see what we going to talk about today, as you're aware, is creativity and innovation and also how to avoid fome. Now, I know that you've had to do an awful lot of work with your teams to be able to still generate the insights that customers need. So your customers being major organisations rather than members of the public and the research that you provide helps these huge organisations to make really important decisions.
[00:01:12.850] - Sue Phillips
And I know that with what's happened with lockdown in the pandemic, a lot of your clients have had to make really big decisions that they want to be backed by research. The classic ways we used to do research have not always been working. We've had to rewrite the rulebook on that. So you've really had to lead your teams through how can we work together in a remote environment and still be creative? And with the work you're doing, Ipsos Mori innovation is absolutely key.
[00:01:41.890] - Sue Phillips
So could we start with that? Is what have you and your teams learnt about fostering creativity and innovation despite remote working and despite the challenges we face through being in the middle of a pandemic?
[00:01:53.920] - Sue Phillips
Yes, absolutely. So, yes, we were the situation in February 2020 where 80 percent of 80 percent by what was face to face and so on, then we no longer had that as an option. And it wasn't just to do with how we worked as a team, as this group of people, because obviously everyone had to work from home. But it was also about the engagement with consumers who were actually trying to understand. So I think so.
[00:02:22.740] - Sue Phillips
A couple of things. The first thing with the with the remote working and the remote team working is that we're here. We were stuck with this team thing. And you can automatically bring that culture of sitting in a meeting, doing the same kind of thing, talking, you know, and over each other, et cetera. And we brought and we just realised very quickly that was not going to work. You know, you can't work in the same way.
[00:02:50.670] - Sue Phillips
And the other big part of our work was also running workshops. I mean, you also run workshops like Clare and and we found that again, sitting there watching somebody present something for half an hour and then, you know, expecting some full engagement again, just didn't work. So we learnt very quickly through trial and error. This this was that we have to behave differently given the environment. And so we embraced the technology. So everyone comments and criticises and, you know, bemoans the fatigue and the team, the teams, this and that.
[00:03:27.450] - Sue Phillips
And it is a pain. You know, it is because you spend so much time on it. But unless you embrace what it can do and work with it creatively, then actually, you know, then you don't get anywhere. So that was so. So then then it's about thinking differently about how you work together. So we all used to do these kind of Zuman team calls beforehand because people were, you know, sometimes working the odd Friday at home and they would be the school, etc.
[00:03:57.030] - Sue Phillips
And so nobody would ever have their cameras on. And I'm seeing that creep back now. Actually, I'm seeing creeping back after a year of zoo people sort of turning the cameras off, not being there. But unless you're present and last week, you know, like we're looking at each other now, you know, that doesn't actually work. So it'd be lovely to see Justin's beautiful face and then a beautiful face to face, a beautiful face. But you do lose a huge amount without that contact.
[00:04:25.360] - Sue Phillips
So that's how I felt. I was looking at, first of all, camera straight on we in terms of just actually engaging during a session. We would over the course of the year, we started to use more and more virtual whiteboard type things. So so you would rather than sitting there having to exchange things, you know, like or you look at this PowerPoint, then we'll comment on it. Somebody else look at this PowerPoint and will comment on it.
[00:04:54.720] - Sue Phillips
And we would we have this virtual, you know, literally whiteboard with lots of posts on it where we can get into small groups, breakouts, work, work through an idea, just as we would do if we were face to face. And that, again, you know, I was working some tech guys just in the middle of last year, about this time last year, actually. And they were working for you know, they were working for Google and Facebook.
[00:05:20.520] - Sue Phillips
And actually, when I went into this workshop, I was really quite intimidating. These guys will be doing so well. And but, you know, no, we just we just ran the session with a really good pace. You never spent any longer than ten minutes doing any one thing, variety of breakout groups working on this sort of mural board with, you know, joint activities that they were doing together, coming back, feeding back one team.
[00:05:46.380] - Sue Phillips
Tell me what you think group to team. Tell me what you think. So there's all these little techniques that you can do to make sure that you keep people engaged during the session because this is all you've got. You know, you've just got this screen. You just got these people. And it's actually quite it can be very limiting unless you actually, you know, make it work. So there's something.
[00:06:09.540] - Clare Josa
Absolutely, Jane. As you say, what we used to do in person doesn't translate to Zoom. We need to use new ways. And I know, as you said, I do a lot of workshops. The work I do as a keynote speaker, what I do online is quite different. You know, the energy that you have to bring to a phone call is very different to the energy that you have on a stage. For example, one of the key things that in a room we're using each other's energy.
[00:06:31.920] - Clare Josa
We're building that excitement, that momentum. When you're on Zoom, you have to try and raise everybody's energy. And whoever is facilitating that needs to do it. You can do it through space, as you say. You can do it through using tools. I know that people are going to ask me what is the tool that you're using for the whiteboard and the posters?
[00:06:49.860] - Sue Phillips
So we using neural Ammu are also neural is the company went through six months of compliance to get there, but we got it from the company and we have to do that. So but we're delighted with muralists. It's a very, very flexible and has lots and lots of templates already set up. So if you're not a creative person not knowing how to set up something like that and they have a they have a lot of already. Templates and you literally just click on, you know, you can easily get people in, you can they can easily just double click and there's a Post-it magically on the on the page and they can start writing on it.
[00:07:26.580] - Sue Phillips
And so so even the least techies do it. And we do have quite a few and they do tend to be the most senior and people in our organisation. And if they initially did struggle with it, but after a couple of sessions and also a little peer pressure of people say, oh, come on, you can do this, I can do this, I can do this, you know, but that that was actually what helped because, again, any new behaviour is always a challenge.
[00:07:53.790] - Sue Phillips
People will always resist it. So we are in the 21st century now. And these kind of tools just you just need to start embracing them. I think Nierop is another one and because of other platforms are available and I already know is available. And there's also a team's whiteboard as well. And I don't use them a lot, but I think it probably has something similar. So.
[00:08:15.430] - Clare Josa
Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you. So and for those of you who are with us live, I'd love to hear from you via the chat. Looking back over the last 15 to 18 months, whenever you've been on a team or zone call and it's been something that's really made you feel like you were drawn in, like your voice mattered. How did people do that? What were the strategies that people have used to make you think? Yeah, I'm actually here and I'm present and I'm engaged.
[00:08:38.640] - Sue Phillips
So, yes, I want to hear from people via the chat on that and say, what are some of your favourites? You've mentioned changing the topic every ten minutes and that kind of thing.
[00:08:48.120] - Sue Phillips
Yeah, yeah. So so to me, you never have they have the second chance to make a first impression. So to me it's all about how you set up the meeting and how you set up the session. So as soon as people come in on my screen, I say, please put em in the chat box, please say hello where you're based. So I want to know which city people are in because people can be in different countries, different cities, whatever.
[00:09:14.550] - Sue Phillips
And then I'll always ask them to write in an answer to a question. My favourite one is, what are you wearing on your feet? Because you know that usually wearing nothing on their feet or slippers or flip flops or bare feet like me today, or I'll say, you know, what did you have for breakfast? What did you have for lunch? And depending what time it was, I might also ask them, what's your superpower? You know, again, you're kind of, you know, just sort of stretching it a little bit.
[00:09:38.430] - Sue Phillips
But it might be something that just makes everyone feel, oh, I'm here and it's easy. But what are you then do when I when I sort of putting in I'm having muesli. I'm having just coffee for me. You can start to almost engage a flow of conversation where you start to comment on, oh, aren't we all healthy here? Or you get a prise for the most healthy breakfast or the most creative lunch, the most exotic Waitrose quinoa salad will come up, you know, so so you can create a fun set up to the session, which relaxes people.
[00:10:15.030] - Sue Phillips
But the secondary benefit of that is you. I'm talking with you. I'm looking at, you know, Christina and Justin and Lynn. And I'm thinking that they are here and I have a, you know, a sort of rapport with them commenting on their breakfast or their shoes or whatever. And so that's that takes very little time. But it's it's very impactful on getting them just going. And then, of course, if you've got thirty or forty people just dialling in, you see if you do that with as many people as you've got, if you have got thirty or forty people going, you just can't do a proper intro.
[00:10:51.030] - Sue Phillips
So then I might do something like, OK, so let's all turn our cameras off or turn our cameras off and then turn your camera on. If you've been to Paris, turn your camera on if you have on a mouth and turn your camera on if blah. And then then you say, oh, if you have got your camera off, turn your camera on. Right. So we turn our cameras on when we speak and this is how we engage with each other.
[00:11:14.880] - Sue Phillips
So you then to set the rules of the tone of the session because otherwise people just revert to, oh God, I'm not feeling like I'm the camera on today's I won't bother you.
[00:11:26.580] - Clare Josa
And then they're doing the emails and everything else again.
[00:11:28.770] - Sue Phillips
Yeah, exactly. And yes. So in a way, they shouldn't be there. You know, if they're not going to participate in the meeting, if there's no role for them to be there, then they'll be more choiceful about being there.
[00:11:44.010] - Clare Josa
That's brilliant, too. So what you're doing with that is you are raising the energy by getting that discussion going just like we would do in a face to face meeting. Yes. And hovering outside the meeting room waiting for the previous meeting over and finish. Yeah. We'd be sitting there chatting, also teaching them. These are the rules of how this session is going to work. You're going to have your video on and you're going to interact. And I love your cue.
[00:12:04.320] - Clare Josa
And I think that because if we start zoom more teams up to high on video participants, you can instantly see who's answering those questions, which works really well with the big group. Yeah, and it's giving everybody. A mission to have an opinion, so it's a very clever psychological way of saying this is our space and this is how we're going to use it. I love that.
[00:12:22.580] - Sue Phillips
Say, this is how I wanted to engage. Yeah. If, you know, if you're not engaging, you're not here, you know. And so there there becomes a kind of compulsion. But I've got to say something. A little something.
[00:12:33.960] - Clare Josa
Exactly. It gets people over that inhibition of, oh, I don't want my video on and I've got a million things to do. It's like, OK, right. So has made it really clear I'm actually here. Fine. I'm making a commitment, not decision. Yeah. And I know of something else that you're passionate about with this for creativity and innovation. And you touched on it briefly in your answer. There it is having this intentionality behind the meeting.
[00:12:55.160] - Clare Josa
It's not just yet another team meeting. This is actually a destination event, isn't it, when you want to actually get these answers out. So you're really making it clear to people this isn't just another update. You know, this is actually something where we're imagining we've flown in from all over the world to be in a room together to create. Yeah, yes.
[00:13:13.520] - Sue Phillips
Yeah, it is. Yeah. It's about having a clear purpose. I don't know if you knew I knew this, but I only found this out recently. But Jeff Bezos of Amazon, he's obviously relatively successful. He he doesn't do anything in PowerPoint. It's all has to be in words. And he has a memo before every meeting, which is clear, outlines what we're going to do, what the purpose of the meeting is. We're going to discuss what the information requirements are beforehand and etc.
[00:13:41.540] - Sue Phillips
. And so what that does is makes it very clear for obviously anyone attending what should be there. And but I also think why do we have catch up meetings, as are just meetings to status updates? I mean, once, you know, you can look at you can look at an Excel spreadsheet or you can look at a map to find out what the status is, is what you want to do as a result of knowing that status of same thing.
[00:14:06.620] - Sue Phillips
So let's look at everyone, look at the status beforehand and and then come to the meeting to discuss what we want to do as a result. And I think people always sort of have this this thing about auto work, what a pain, what a pain. But if you reframe your meeting and say, actually, the meeting will be for 45 minutes, but there'll be forty five minutes work to do in order to prepare for the meeting. And so you need to send that pre work.
[00:14:34.670] - Sue Phillips
And so, so almost send an invite for the pre work that they do alone. They can choose the time they have to do it at the same time, but that there's a 45 minute framework and then 45 minutes in the meeting discussion, then then you get more value out of that session.
[00:14:50.360] - Clare Josa
Absolutely. I've got some direct comments coming through to me, so some direct messages here in the chat as well. So could you please come and run the meetings at my company?
[00:14:58.340] - Sue Phillips
Oh, thank you. Well, yes, maybe I'm getting people going. I start with one sentence sharing a quick win from the week. Yeah. Then a specific short topics and mixing the groups up each week. This is brilliant. Yeah. And we can either be deliberate and intentional about how we put people together for brainstorming or we can use the power of Zuma, for example, to randomly allocate, which is helping us to reproduce those watercoolers.
[00:15:26.990] - Sue Phillips
Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Well, it's interesting because I love the teams do the same thing. I love that sort of you know, you feel like you in Harry Potter teleported to this group of people who don't. It's going to be we often do is we don't give people time to do the do have water cooler chat. We said, OK, you've got ten minutes to do this task and you to fill this out and come back and be ready to share.
[00:15:50.090] - Sue Phillips
And of course, people don't know each other. They always have to have the kind of OK, so take five minutes just to introduce each other, get familiar with the task and then ten minutes to get on with the task. Again, very simple thing, but they just send people out and not expect that they will have to do some of that gelling. And we will say about this this new world and how we've missed the watercooler conversations. It's actually the time that we spend doing it.
[00:16:17.960] - Sue Phillips
I went into the office last week. They hardly got any work done because I was in, you know, chatting to someone here. Someone put my my desk like, how am I going to get this done? So, you know, we've often because you can you do so you do fill your calendar from time to with everything. But in those meetings, spend the time on those watercooler chats, conversations. How's the cat? How's the dog?
[00:16:42.650] - Sue Phillips
You know, how are the kids? Because that's that's obviously such an important part of our lives that if you go straight into the meeting, you're like everything gets so dry.
[00:16:53.240] - Clare Josa
So absolutely. It's those human connexions. And what I love about what you're describing here. So you're you're consciously creating a safe space for people to be creative and innovative. Yeah, yeah. We're we're strangers. Then it's a neuroscience fact that we're going to be in fight flight freeze mode if we share prices. Yeah. We're less likely to then actually be able to access that part of the brain and it. Will stifle creativity and innovation if we just spend that five minutes doing the bit, the human bit.
[00:17:20.540] - Sue Phillips
Yes. Yeah, I like this and I trust this person, I'm going to be hard to work with this person. This person isn't going to judge me. Right. Let's get on.
[00:17:28.100] - Clare Josa
Exactly. Exactly. And without that, what we're going to get is maybe the 30 percent ideas instead of the 80 percent idea. Yeah, yeah. That's not such good advice. So everybody here live. I'd love to hear from you via the chat and you can send it to me if you'd rather not chat in front of everybody is what could you do? Is your organisation already doing this or what could you do in your team to implement that five minutes of human connexion before you dive in and break out rooms or meetings, the small chat that actually can go really deep.
[00:17:58.310] - Clare Josa
You know, for me as an introvert, I actually really hate chit chat because I want to get straight in there. It's like, oh, my goodness, that happened to you. How are you? What can I do to support you? I'm not interested in whether I am today. Obviously, I'm going to be working out so much today in the sun. But that connexion is really important, being able to to be that on camera, eyeball to eyeball, seeing everybody who's in your little group.
[00:18:20.700] - Sue Phillips
[00:18:22.370] - Clare Josa
We're all here together. Let's create a safe space.
[00:18:25.100] - Sue Phillips
Yeah. Yeah. A nice a nice one. Warm up for that is because again the safe space but a positive space. So you want people to be positive and forward moving in the way they're talking. So I would say something like this to, you know, get to know each other, but it's to share one of your covid silver linings because it's been a grim year. But you know, what's one of those silver linings? And everyone has a silver lining and then that reveals something about themselves.
[00:18:50.820] - Sue Phillips
OK, and for me, it's exercise. For somebody else, it's more time with the family or whatever. And then as you forward experience, I'm going to hand this straight back over to those who are with us live. Or if you're on the replay, you can let me know by the comments. OK, what has been one of your covid silver linings? Let's put it straight into action and practise it now. I came for your next movie, Silver Linings.
[00:19:13.310] - Sue Phillips
I'm going to put mine in as well.
[00:19:15.350] - Clare Josa
And I think that one of my covid silver linings is outside of the home schooling arena. The kids are back at school. I love the fact there's been more snow. Yeah. And I've loved the fact that I don't have the same wrap around child care I used to have. And it hasn't mattered. I can still pick my kids up from school, make sure that they've got through the hungry snacks space and do whatever I need to do to wrap up my day.
[00:19:38.600] - Clare Josa
And I feel like I'm a lot more present for them. And it's been a really big silver lining for me. And I've, quite frankly, loved the fact most of the time that my husband's been around up in London. It's time and we felt like a team. Yeah. So employers realising that working remotely is possible. Absolutely. From Suheir being able to exercise every day in the week. Absolutely. Direct message I've got here is being able to spend more time with my mom who's got responsibilities.
[00:20:11.660] - Clare Josa
That's beautiful this day. Moving on to our next topic, if I may say, being able to meet people all over the world.
[00:20:19.040] - Sue Phillips
It's great. Yes.
[00:20:20.270] - Clare Josa
You not having to travel quite as much as I like to read too much. Yes. Living out of that suitcase. This may be one of the other things that you and I have talked about before I know you're passionate about is when we've got hybrid teams that are going to be situations where some people want to be in the office all the time because that suits how they're wired and how their life is constructed. All the people are going to resist going to the office completely because frankly, they've run their team or been in their team for fifteen months, delivered all the objectives.
[00:20:53.000] - Clare Josa
Why do I have to now commute? Probably prevent a two tier workforce, the in the office, top of mind, getting the next promotion, going out for drinks, having a fantastic social life and team network and the people who are in the office much less often who might feel overlooked. You might feel that they're missing out this fear of missing out somo the base, that they don't feel they have to go back into the office even though they might not want to or feel safe doing so.
[00:21:20.060] - Clare Josa
Yeah. What are your suggestions for how we can prevent and stop that division within teams?
[00:21:26.120] - Sue Phillips
Yeah. Yeah, it's, it's a massive it's a massive challenge. The whole hybrid's going back to work. And I think it was interesting what Analisa said there, that the big taboo of remote working, you know, working from home, but remote working again, it's about framings. You're working from home at home. So there's that question mark over it. So that's all been busted. Now that to be as best we could be productive, we can work from home, but we've so so we've also, I think, realise how productive we can be when we're working from home.
[00:21:57.440] - Sue Phillips
So there's, you know, without any distractions, I can sit here and I can really focus and I can get a report written and or get that document strategy written or whatever it is. And but we also realise that you consume the fatigue. You your your world. I don't know if everyone's well, but my world certainly has become. Not just geographically, obviously has, but just from what I'm being touched by and what I'm absorbing, even just going on the train and the tube, you see all these ads on the train and you just feel like, you know what's going on, even if it's just seeing people and what they're wearing.
[00:22:34.450] - Sue Phillips
And so you realise the world has become smaller and your and your ability to know what is going on across a large organisation has also become smaller. So all that's context to say working from home has been extremely effective and productive, but that is beyond the watercooler that you're missing. So I think companies need to think about, you know, take a step back and think about what are we trying to achieve here as opposed to just sort of setting down rules that come in three days a week whenever you want.
[00:23:08.350] - Sue Phillips
And let's see how it works, as we as we said earlier on. So so the starting point in most companies will be some kind of consultation, because whatever works for everyone, whatever what someone won't work for everyone. And it will depend on what your job is, what team needs to be in order for your company to work. And and so, unfortunately, the people who, you know, don't want to commute anymore and want to work from home all the time might be disappointed because actually what he means and what's actually having an effective work environment means might mean you do have to have some presentism at some point you need to be with with you, with the team, etc.
[00:23:57.160] - Sue Phillips
. That said, I'm a huge fan of the being able to work from a remote place, whether it's your home or your holiday home or whatever, because you can do it extremely effectively. So when it comes to things like the FAMO, I think within the office we've all been we were all there before the pandemic where you'd be sitting in a room, in a meeting room, and there'd be three people who'd be dialling in and they'd never get a look in the conversation because all the people in the room and they were all chatting about.
[00:24:31.990] - Sue Phillips
So just as we've had to adopt new disciplines for the way we work with our and our teams, as I was describing before, I think meetings will have to take a new role and you can adopt some of those things that you did in the meeting, in the zoo meetings, in the face to face meeting, and whether that is more turn taking, whether that is, you know, tied to agendas, why are we meeting in the first place?
[00:24:56.080] - Sue Phillips
So I'm talking about meetings before I talk about the social stuff. But why are we meeting in the first place? Who needs to be here? Oh, three people are going to be in the office. Three people are not going to be in the office. Great. If you've got really wonderful tech that helps you do that brilliantly. But most people, it will be a screen on the wall or even worse, you know, just sitting around as if you're all in zoom.
[00:25:17.740] - Sue Phillips
So then it's about, OK, that's take turns. Who's in this meeting? What if each of you bring into this meeting? Why are we here? Have we done the pre work? What was the pre work? And then that's OK. First discussion, right. Stop. We haven't heard from people on the line, so you will have to just be more disciplined, I think, about doing that. So that's that's what sets of behaviours that we need to start adopting that just in a more inclusive to anyone who's not in the office.
[00:25:46.510] - Clare Josa
Absolutely. And just because it's such an important point you've made there. See, before we move on to the phone, made one of the other things that some company has been doing where they don't have the time to have people up on a big screen, they're actually nominating a remote buddy in each meeting. So nice. That's a nice idea. And they have to zoom on their laptop and they are then the voice for the Zoom attendees in the room.
[00:26:07.870] - Clare Josa
Oh, yeah. And if somebody has something to say, the laptop can be turned around and you see that person's face.
[00:26:13.510] - Sue Phillips
[00:26:14.980] - Clare Josa
That's the thing that's that's sort of working quite well. It's that internationalism is right. We know we've got this many people missing. And as you say, Sue is being very aware of what's going on. We haven't heard from the remote people for a little while. They might have something brilliant to say, but it takes an awful lot of guts to yell over call.
[00:26:31.300] - Sue Phillips
Yeah. So 'Zoom buddy' is a great idea because I can imagine doing that with your phone so I can imagine home I what's up with my Zoom buddy saying, hey, my turn and then I'll just say, oh Joe's got something to say and Joe will come in and say have they or his thing. And yes, exactly. Those kind of examples of new behaviours is is what exactly for them this does from the point of view of keeping people top of mind, because that's one of the big fears people have got is oh, but only the people who are in the office full time are going to get opportunities and promotions.
[00:27:00.130] - Clare Josa
Particularly if they do it the way they've just described it: Hey Joe's actually got something to say then everybody remembers. Oh Joe had a good idea. Exactly. And it just gets to express the idea themselves. Yeah. So it's this kind of thing is how can we turn this upside down. How can we. Forget how we used to do it. Make it so it does work because frankly, in most organisations, hybrid is here today and we open to new ways of working rather than trying to sausage machine the old ways.
[00:27:27.460] - Sue Phillips
Yes, having people myself. I love these ideas. Thank you. Yeah.
[00:27:32.390] - Sue Phillips
Yes. The and the other thing we were talking about was also the the planning of the of the, you know, the office party or the office get together and missing, going out on drinks, et cetera, even even before that. Again, the sort of decision is and this was so I showed you this earlier on. So it was a fortuitous that this magazine came out a couple of weeks ago. And so the centre here on get doing Highbridge.
[00:27:59.940] - Sue Phillips
What right. And what I hadn't occurred to me was what kind of hybrid we're looking for. So there's a time and a place hybrid. So the time hybrid is you can be inflexible or very flexible and the place hybrid is so I work nine to five is the inflexible or you can work whenever you want, which is the very flexible. Then the place hybrid is obviously you can work in the office nine to five. So before we were nine to five in the office and the flexibility at the flexibility, we can obviously work from anywhere.
[00:28:38.250] - Sue Phillips
So you think about that. Are we moving to any time anywhere or are we working to in the office flexible time or are we working to and anywhere but actually nine to five. So is getting your head around those two dimensions that I think is the first thing. And and I think many, many people who have families obviously want anytime, anywhere, because, you know, they love they have loved getting up at six, working from six to seven, 30, then doing the morning thing seven thirty till nine, and then then starting at six, nine thirty, carrying on till three and then stopping for a couple of hours and then going back later on.
[00:29:21.510] - Sue Phillips
So they have a seven hour day, but that seven hour days at different times. And I think there's no reason why that can't continue if if the team contracts for that and if the company contracts for that. And then that's so that's what you need to go to consult. So I think most big companies are now in a consultation process and they're looking at what are the different jobs, what are the different preferences. So this is putting the human needs as important, if not more important as the institutional needs, because at the end of the day, the institutional needs are just so we can keep everyone in order.
[00:30:00.040] - Sue Phillips
And we know where everyone is. We know that everyone's working hard. Well, we have kind of proven that over the last year. Everyone can work hard and everyone does kind of do their job. And if if they're not, then wondering why their employee flexibility and a lot of people have companies try to come back in with that control, which I did with Janet Hitchen last week. So those of you watching this, make sure you catch Janet's interview.
[00:30:21.930] - Sue Phillips
We talked about all these decisions being made from the control of some companies. They are. And the best employees are going to vote with their feet. Yeah, yeah. There will be some mass exodus to companies that offer a working style that that person wants.
[00:30:35.910] - Sue Phillips
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I think it's then about that about style. So so. Yeah. So then back, back to follow it will be within my team. Our team has decided that, you know, we will always be in on Tuesday and Wednesday or Monday and Thursday or whatever the days are. And so then everyone needs to sign up for that. And whether it's in teams or whether it's in, you know, sort of I mean, having the whole company doing that is probably going to be impossible.
[00:31:06.540] - Sue Phillips
So, again, you and then you might agree to swap it. So that day is the next week. It's another week. And so you might not make every single week. But then knowing that this is the day when everyone's going to be here. So you just you just have to I think you said earlier on who's going to be excluded from this decision. But then I said, how can we make sure that those people who might be excluded are included in the discussion about that decision?
[00:31:33.960] - Sue Phillips
And I think that's what some of the companies in here were saying. They've actually not just gone to the usual suspects when it comes to deciding on the go back to work policy. You know, we've talked to everyone. I've talked to junior people, senior people, mid-level people, people who out in the you know, out in the road a lot. People are in the office a lot. If you have kids, people who don't have kids, people that lives that don't involve children, but then will be in the office.
[00:31:58.500] - Sue Phillips
[00:31:59.680] - Clare Josa
So yeah. And I think that's such an important point. So it's looking as an organisation who is in your team that's being consulted to make these decisions, because one of the things I've seen is family issues and definitely not with you guys episodes, but within other companies is. The people on the teams on the return to the office teams are often the younger single people in city flats with no garden who frankly have gone stir crazy for the last 15 months.
[00:32:25.720] - Clare Josa
Yeah. And say that their predisposition if we look at the reticular activating system, folks in the brain that filters off. How can we get everybody back in? And we need make sure that the people who've got Corera responsibilities, the people who, as you say, have a life outside work. Yeah. Is that they are in those teams, too, that we have that broad range. We're including people from every aspect of our organisation in those decisions.
[00:32:51.280] - Clare Josa
And it doesn't mean, as you've said before. So it doesn't mean we can meet everybody's needs. Yeah, but it means that we've consciously chosen which needs to meet and we've done our best because, you know, people some organisations I'm seeing people are being dictated to you will now do three or four days a week in the office, Will. Why. Yeah. Why wouldn't we talk about with Janet last week as well as why starting with how is the wrong way round.
[00:33:15.370] - Clare Josa
We need to be starting with Y, which is something you've used a number of times.
[00:33:19.090] - Sue Phillips
Yeah. What is it going to do for the organisation. What is it going to do for our employees, for our people. Then you start looking at how once you've understood where are we aiming for, as you said, are we aiming for the ultimate flexibility and time and space where we actually aiming for most people will be back in the office. What kind of organisation do we want to be? Yes, we support people on that journey.
[00:33:44.870] - Sue Phillips
Yeah, one of the one of the things one of the suggestions in the magazine as well, which I think is a good one, is thinking about how your policy is shaped by your values as a company. So if if if I don't know if empathy is high on your values, then why wouldn't you consult everybody? You know, you can't just want to be an empathetic organisation then say and you will be in three days a week. Yeah. So what are the company's values and how does that then reflect what you know, how you're going to approach this?
[00:34:16.030] - Sue Phillips
But I think, you know, teams and working in teams is is is really important because of this hybrid way of working, you know, the meaning of team and how teams need to work together, you know, obviously evolving as well. So I think we have been in a team who I've known probably within the same five years, a global team. We've always worked remotely. We've always had whether we were in the office or whatever, the one in Canada, one in Singapore, one in the UK and in France, etc.
[00:34:49.630] - Sue Phillips
So we've always worked remotely. But but we have missed each other very much. And so we only saw each of the really three or four times a year as a team of those those were the those were the high points. Those were the memorable moments. Those were the experiences, you know, that you felt. Oh, yes. We went up and we saw the Eiffel Tower from this restaurant. And you know that in my head, career highlights.
[00:35:12.850] - Sue Phillips
You know, I'm afraid I had that one career highlight on that workshop I told you about earlier on, but very few real experience. The highlights are going to be sitting in front of this thing compared with the face to face. You have to create a room for face to face and then and making those memories.
[00:35:31.630] - Clare Josa
Absolutely. And I know something you and I have talked about in the past is that you can't build a team on Zoome. And you've just described beautifully what we need to be doing instead. Is this consciously choosing to create experiences that bonders as a team? Yeah, and I'm potentially throwing away the rulebook on what they're allowed to be. It's got to be more than we just go out for lunch. Yeah, it's you know, with a travel budget, for example, it's probably available.
[00:35:55.810] - Clare Josa
What could we use that for to allow us to say, you know what? Yeah, I feel like I belong here now more as a result of today's experience.
[00:36:03.550] - Sue Phillips
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly right. It really, really important, particularly that the younger groups who haven't formed so you know, you can you create a team on steam with you know you can and they will. Of course they will because you know, you just get on and you make the best of it. And there are many, you know, great team experiences that we've had. But, you know, having having that face to face will create the bigger experience.
[00:36:31.900] - Clare Josa
I think to I think that is a perfect spot to leave it. It's been absolutely wonderful. I know I've had so much fun. I've absolutely loved hearing your wisdom and your insights today. We've had some great feedback by the chat, those of us who were alive. If you're on the replay, make sure you let us know what is your one action that you're going to take as a result of today. If you share via social media, the hashtag is making hybrid work.
[00:36:58.450] - Clare Josa
And if you know anybody else that would love to be watching these interviews and being inspired by these speakers, they can get their free ticket at MakingHybridWork.com. You're an absolute gift to this particular topic. I love how you're approaching this. I know that you'll be inspiring a lot of people with what you've been done. And thank you so much.
[00:37:21.540] - Sue Phillips
Thank you very much for asking. That is serving a delight and lovely to see everybody. And please do drop me a line if you have any any questions at all. I'll be very happy to to answer them. Thank you, Sue.
Watch Each Interview For The 2021 Lockdown Leadership Conference
Get your free ticket here:
Take Action Now!
If you do one thing as a result of this episode, make it this! What one action could you take today to prevent burnout with hybrid working?
For My Organisation
What is our long-term goal for hybrid working? What will it look like?
What is most important to me about hybrid working? And how can I make sure my voice is heard?
Loved This? Want More?
Practical Inspiration For Soul Led Leaders
Catch each episode and get my weekly Soul Led Leaders email, with extra strategies, bonus resources, and accountability for your Soul Led Leadership journey.
Spam stinks. Your contact details will only be used to send you the Soul Led Leaders newsletter and related events.
And you can catch past episodes here: