There’s a lot of talk about what the future of work will look like. The truth is none of us really know. Hybrid? Remote? Free-range? Work from anywhere? Who knows?

Considering what we’ve all been through in the past 18 months, it is unrealistic to expect that any of us can predict with any sense of accuracy what the future of work will look like. In a recent conversation I had with Lucy Adams from Disruptive HR, she said instead of thinking about how many days we would work from the office, from home, from wherever – we need to focus on ‘moments that matter’. I thought that was beautiful and empowering.

This month’s edition of Business Beautiful is focused on what we can do right now to develop the culture in our beautiful businesses.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler Ross on how beautiful people are made from the James Clear blog

What’s making us wonder….

This week, we ran the latest in our Post Pandemic Project sessions on culture and navigating the path to a new working world. I was joined by Carla and Imogen from FizzPopBang (you can watch the recording here). They spoke about the Bridges transition model, which focuses on the transition process we all need to go through, rather than the ‘change’ itself. The model has three main phases:

  1. Ending, losing, and letting go
  2. The neutral zone
  3. The new beginning

Identifying where we are individually and where each of our team is in the transition from the 2019 working world to today’s could be really helpful for us as leaders to work out how we can most effectively support each other.

This Harvard Business Review article from a law firm that moved to a remote-first model before the pandemic has some useful advice. Clearly, ‘prioritising culture’ is the first takeaway, but this point that even today, we can’t be sure that anyone really knows what they want longer-term:

“Today, over a year after people had to leave the office, few are sure what they really want. Some people fell in love with working at home. Some missed the office. What will inevitably emerge will be a mix, but few have actually lived that mix. Now is the time to experiment with various arrangements.”

This piece by Phil Wainewright at Digniomica articulates the dangers of the ‘hybrid’ model – which runs the risk of being a halfway house. As Phil says, “Hybrid working is much more than a fusion of working from home with being in the office – it’s a whole new, digitally connected future of work […] and you don’t embrace the future by clinging to the past”.

Nurture your team. Listen and understand. Build trust. Show how they can make a difference. Create an environment where together, everyone can do the best work of their lives.
from the Manifesto for Beautiful Business

On our minds….

In the culture session we ran this week, we discussed some of the winners and losers of the pandemic. – Those organisations that have built trust with their teams and those that have….well…..have done the opposite.

Of the winners – or at least the more positive stories:

  • Dating app Bumble closed its offices altogether this week to give staff a break.
  • Deloitte has told all of its UK employees that they can work from wherever they want, whenever they want. I understand this is already helping them recruit talent from competitors.

On the flip side:

  • 37 signals, the makers of Basecamp (and whose founders have written books telling people how to do culture) had a well-publicised meltdown that led to a third of their team resigning on one day. This article is a compelling read and a cautionary tale.
  • Incredibly, one in five firms admits to secretly spying on their employees working from home.
  • In an open letter to Brewdog founder James Watts, 61 former employees accused the organisation of creating a culture of fear.

What’s making us smile….

Our friends at Ecologi announced a £4m fundraising round led by US firm General Catalyst. Ecologi works by letting people around the world calculate their carbon footprint based on where they live and their lifestyle. Investments are then used to plant trees, particularly mangroves, as they capture much more carbon than other species and fund renewable energy projects. This investment will accelerate the good work Ecologi is doing in helping to avert a climate disaster.

We partnered with Ecologi a few years ago to create a climate positive workforce, planting 600 trees a month to offset the carbon we produce. Find out how you could do the same for your business[Disclosure: Wow are advisers to and investors in Ecologi].

On the climate crisis, I found Bill Gates’ recent book useful in thinking about what needs to be done.

What we’re listening to

With the Euros ongoing, this interview with Gareth Southgate, England men’s football team manager on the High Performance podcast is topical and interesting. He talks about how to be an emotionally intelligent leader – which is refreshing from the world of football.

This podcast with Mark Ronson where he’s interviewed Questlove and Erykah Badu is not business-related, but it’s compelling listening and I thought I’d share it anyway! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Get involved

If there’s anything you’d like to see in our next round-up please let me know. If you’d like to join over 11,000 people receiving our Beautiful Business monthly’s in your inbox each month, you can sign up below.


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