Work used to have a rigid structure. You would punch in and out of the factory, leave your work behind at the office and go home. But as the lines between work and home blur, and all hours can easily become working hours, how can we find balance?

Lynda Gratton is a Professor of Management Practice at London Business School where she directs the program ‘Human Resource Strategy in Transforming Companies’ – considered the world’s leading program on human resources. 

Her elective on the Future of Work is one of the school’s most popular and in 2016 she received the school’s ‘Excellence in Teaching’ award. For over ten years she has led the Future of Work Consortium which has brought executives from more than 60 companies together both virtually and on a bespoke collaborative platform.

She joins Greg to talk about new digital tools that bring the workplace anywhere, what drives productivity, serendipity and the future of work post pandemic. 

Episode Quotes:

What's the point of heading back to the office?

Let me give you an example. I was talking to a senior investment banker in New York last week and she said, you know, Lynda, I've just commuted one and a half hours from Connecticut to come into Manhattan and I'm going to commute one and a half hours back. And all I've done all day, you know the answer to this Greg, she said, I've been sitting on zoom meetings. I don't know why I'm here. So if we want people back in the office. And I think most companies do for at least some of the time we have to make it a very attractive proposition. 

Can we recreate workplace interactions with an algorithm?

The fact is that it is really great and innovative and creative to bump into people who are different from you. I mean, we know that from network theory, don't we? That those diversity ideas is what makes for innovation.

So the question I think is twofold. As we go back to the office, in a physical way, how do we create more serendipity? And secondly, the point you raise Greg, which is, is the more that we can do virtually to create serendipity. And I think the answer to both of those is we can, it takes intentional design.

Seeing trends in workplace culture & environment

I felt that about now, and I'm speaking April / May of 2022, people would begin to say, you know I think we could just go back to how we were. And I thought it was really important that all of us together said, no, we were not going to go back. There were many things wrong with how we worked. 

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