Getting to Yes, And

Brian Elliott: How the Future Works


Brian Elliott

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Kelly speaks to Brian Elliott, Executive Leader at Future Forum and SVP at Slack, about his new book: How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Team to do the Best Work of Their Lives.

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There are more nuances to hybrid work than the days you work from home and the days you work from the office.

“There are different groups that need flexibility in different ways, and schedule flexibility is really important to caregivers.  In the US, more often than not it's even more important to women with children than men with children, to give them ways in which you work with your team that you can figure out some constraints around time together, every day, but also time to do independent work or to do certain kinds of work when it's effective for you or when you're not bearing other responsibilities.”

I also found it interesting that some of that remote work actually boosted your inclusion efforts.

“If we understand that flexibility is a potential boost to inclusion, one of the principles that we use at Slack - and we've seen others adopt as well - is that we want to ensure a level playing field. And if you're thinking about it from that perspective and your executive team thinks that diversity inclusion is important, then that principle can help guide people in a bunch of different directions. A level playing field can be things like making sure that those that are dialing in for a meeting have airtime to contribute equally.”

This isn’t just a technology issue, right? We’re talking about new norms of work time and work space.

“The issue isn't the technology, the issue is leadership. And I own this one myself. You need team level agreements laying out now how frequently do we get together as one of the questions; and why don't we get together. And having that as a conversation is really important.  But also things like how do we put some boundaries around the hours? What types of issues on this team get escalated off hours?  And if we're going to have an issue off hours, how will you be notified about it?”

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