By RedBalloon for Business

On November 11th 2020, Naomi Simson, Co-founder of the Big Red Group (BRG) and Founder of RedBalloon led a lively online panel discussion ‘Creating The New Experience of Work’, in partnership with the Trans-Tasman Business Circle.

Based on the launch of BRG’s ’Creating the New Experience of Work’ white paper, the panel of industry leaders including leading demographer Bernard Salt, BlackWall’s Joint Managing Director’s Jessie Glew and Tim Brown (WOTSO Workspace), and author Richard Evans, shared insights and forecasts into how the future of work would change as business begins to emerge from the pandemic.

The discussion unveiled many diverse ideas on how and why work in the traditional sense has changed forever, having largely proven, we can work from almost anywhere. Whilst it was agreed there are many challenges to overcome, and more questions than answers, panellists were united in their view that the need for a robust framework was essential in providing structure for the tasks ahead.

Insights focused on the core principals of connection, community and collaboration, seen by all as key drivers to a thriving enterprise. Naomi led the discussion centred around BRG’s six point framework, which forms the base of BRG’s workplace planning strategy leading into 2021, summarised below:

BRG six point framework

1. Leadership – rhythm, transparency and intentional leadership is needed; a documented leadership framework helps; business is a people game, remember to surprise and delight

2. Development – onboarding, people development, growth and learning needs dedicated attention; build structured training programs as can’t rely on incidental acquisition of skills and knowledge previously gained in the workplace

3. Collaboration – ensure inclusivity; respect and respond to idea contributions; understand collaboration and how to encourage; recognise that workplaces provide a ‘surrogate’ family where trust and relationships are built

4. Culture – needs to be prioritised on agenda, set and driven by senior leaders, or social capital will be eroded; leaders must encourage curiosity, listen to people and always think purposely ‘what are we being hired to do’

5. Innovation – as technology continues to evolve, leadership teams must stay atop of changes; questions remain for how to replicate innovation that stems from impromptu workplace get togethers (water cooler and hallway chats)

6. Connection – we are all ‘missing’ each other, being forced apart has made us want to come together; regular communication, maintaining connection and team experiences are fundamental

While new terms are being coined almost daily for the way we’re working (remote working, flexible working, work from home – WFH, work from anywhere – WFA, stay at home, work-life balance and even ‘living’ at work), all have different meanings and present unique challenges and opportunities.

Bernard Salt, known for tracking social changes and his inherent ability to invent acronyms, noted the shift in being able to WFA has injected life into suburbs while driving significant tree and sea change movements, which he termed as VESPAs (Virus Escapees Seeking Provincial Australia). With 45% of the workforce WFH at the peak of COVID, Bernard anticipates this will settle to 10 – 15% post pandemic, altering future commuting pressure and demand for office space.

In summary, it was unanimously agreed that Australia and New Zealand’s futures are tremendously bright, and this is a moment for unprecedented innovation and opportunity. A time to leverage choice and learn from what we have achieved in adapting to remote working, to design inspirational workplaces of the future.

“Work used to be a place we went, now it is what we do”

Naomi Simson

Click below to watch the online panel discussion of ‘Creating the New Experience of Work’.


Download the Experience of Work White paper for a view to the future.  

Download RedBalloon for Business white paper