In 9 to 5 (1980) Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin force their sexist boss into isolation by taking him captive. While he’s safely locked up at home, they transform their workplace culture from one of bullying and harassment to one of tolerance and understanding. They introduce flexible working and job sharing – and when the boss is freed, there’s no going back.
Many of us are currently seeing our own workplace cultures transform with a sudden rise in virtual working. And even those who already encouraged flexible working are finding that they need to be more flexible than ever as many employees combine working with primary school phonics and checking in on elderly relatives.
For leaders, this is an opportunity to experiment with new ways of working and build virtual collaboration. If we embrace experimentation to spark innovation, we are more likely to succeed in these challenging times. If we can learn from our experiences and embed some of our new ways of working rather than reverting to the old ways, we’re more likely to sustain that success.