Creating Time & Space For More Flexible Work

Hootsuite’s flagship office in Vancouver reconfigured to envision post-COVID future of work
As more companies shift to hybrid work models, the design and functionality of the Vancouver office has changed —— especially for employees at Hootsuite.

“We asked employees what they were looking for as the pandemic gets more under control,” said Tara Ataya, Hootsuite’s chief people and diversity officer. “While free snacks and PingPong tables may have cut it pre-pandemic, post-pandemic culture will require companies to becomes catalysts for a healthy environment.”

“We also know that not everyone who comes in will do so all of the time,” Ataya said. “Healthy employees are those who are given the time and space to be that and that’s also why we’ve increased benefits six-fold for mental health services during the pandemic.”

“It’s not just about looking at the physical space of the office but paying attention to the physiological well-being and safety of people working there,” Ataya said.

As I’ve always noted about Hootsuite in the past, they’re focus isn’t so much Social Innovation as it is just Social Media. That said, these changes are a step in the right direction but still don’t get to the heart of how organizations need to transform themselves today. Thus many will hype mental health, yet do everything except the very thing necessary to improve it.

As an example, you can introduce all the mental health programs and physical spaces in your company for people to practice their mental health but if you don’t provide people with the additional time and space for it, nothing really changes.

In fact, by putting these mental health “expectations” on them with no time to practice them, it can actually make people feel even more overloaded and stressed out than before (as I noted my wife was experiencing at her workplace).

To really make a difference to their well-being, people need more time and space to do their actual work, rather than being asked to do more work with the same or even less time. That’s where the biggest change will occur. By giving people the flexibility to have more time and space for their work, it will create a greater psychological sense of space within them, helping them to feel like they can breathe more easily both emotionally and mentally.

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for the roleplaying game called Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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