Leadership Challenges of Flexible Working


The recent Microsoft work trends research for 2022 found that workers priorities have changed. I’d go further and say that leaders’ priorities have changed too.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, work was the main focus for most leaders. Now, we’re more likely to put our family, personal life, health and wellbeing, ahead of our work.

This has a lot of implications – chief among them the desire for more flexible working arrangements.  Some people were happy to return to the work environment, some found they prefer remote working, some want a combination of the two.

This causes challenges for leaders:

  • Should it be mandatory for employees to return to their usual workplace and hours?  

  • How do team members forge strong internal relationships within the business/organisation, if they’re working remotely?

  • What agreements are needed with teams, to define why and when to be in the workplace?
    (Only 16% of New Zealand companies have agreements in place.)

  • How do leaders create appropriate relationship-building activities with remote or hybrid workers, to foster a strong culture?

  • How do new employees receive the support they need to be successful, if they’re not working on-site?

These, and other leadership challenges face us now and in the months and years ahead – no matter how long the pandemic continues to have an impact.

Leaders need to be thinking about how to successfully compete in difficult markets, while wrestling with these challenges.

(Watch my video for more thoughts on this.)