We asked our Director of Culture & People and our Managing Partner about their views on leadership and well-being in the new normal and D&I’s cultural recipe for success in the future.
Q: Throwback to exactly one year ago today – what has changed?
It sure was quite different! We had the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas at the office kitchen, have lunch with colleagues, walk by someone’s desk and exchange spontaneous ideas, laugh together, gather in meeting rooms and informal setups. Celebrating things together was simple. It was also easy to give a helping hand to each other, if a colleague was overworked, or had ended up with too many projects at once.
In a self-directed, high pace environment, the role of a leader of today has been to work alongside colleagues when bringing the best solutions for our clients. This is still true but the practical execution of “working alongside colleagues” has changed fundamentally as the teams have not been able to work physically together on-site.
“As a culture-driven firm, we have paid special attention to enabling discussion on our shared cultural cornerstones and what they mean to us in terms of collaboration and communication in times like these.”
– Anders Carlberg, Managing Partner
Q: What kind of practical things have you done to adapt?
We have experimented with different kinds of concepts to work in a mainly virtual setup. To ensure an active flow of information, we have had weekly virtual meetings on what is going on around us and within D&I. We have also gathered for a cup of coffee in various virtual groups to talk about whatever feels relevant and our partners have been making weekly check-in calls with our people to talk about any relevant day-to-day topics. Practical leadership has been all about creating and maintaining connections, being actively available and encouraging discussion – even in remote mode. As a culture-driven firm, we have paid special attention to enabling discussion on our shared cultural cornerstones. Our monthly “Value Breakfasts” and “How is it going D&I” –afternoon catch-ups every other Tuesday have been very important to us.
Q: Employee well-being is a hot topic everywhere. How about at D&I?
Focusing on employee well-being has been especially important to us this year and it will continue to be in our special focus. We have launched many new initiatives, discussed work-life balance and talked regularly about the overall workload.
One of our new initiatives is offering our employees an opportunity to discuss their well-being and working methods with an external partner, should they wish to do so. We also encourage our employees to exercise in a virtual community, take breaks in between virtual meetings and to rearrange their daily routines to make their everyday life run as smoothly as possible.
To make it through and succeed in a longer period of remote work – as it unfortunately seems to be – we want to encourage and support our people in having as balanced as possible everyday life in these unusual times.
Q: What elements of the old normal should be included in building a new normal?
The answer is quite simple: A new kind of a virtual working community needs to cater for the same needs as before, although differently.
Firstly, we should keep focusing on clients and talk about future aspirations. Even if we are physically at a distance, we are connected through a common goal. Secondly, it is even more important to ensure participation and free flow of information. In times like these, we can capture all valuable thoughts, if people can still pitch in and channel their viewpoints into a common discussion. Thirdly, a curious mindset of learning and developing as individuals, professionals and as an organisation keeps pushing us forward.
“A new kind of a virtual working community needs to cater for the same needs as before, although differently.”
– Mikael Ahtokari, Director, People and Culture
Q: How do you see the role of leadership and well-being in new normal?
The role of leadership in this new era is all about inviting everyone to participate in building a new kind of future. When we take good care of each other and ensure an ongoing dialogue, we will promote both well-being at work and help us reach our goals. This is how we are able to enhance our team spirit. Together.