During the final quarter of '22, there's an increase in reports of how companies are evolving how they work.
Earlier in the year, focus was on grabbing the hybrid dividend to the bottom-line. Namely offloading swathes of expensive office space expected to become, if not already seen to be, redundant.
Now the feeling is very much that in the white-collar arena, traditionally presenteeism-soaked roles can now recalibrate. Mainly by having at least one day (often two as a minimum) when attendance in the office is not mandated.
Seasoned salespeople, sales engineers and much after-sales support for whom the nearest 'branch' was far from physical client and territory locales wonder what all the fuss is about. Throughout my career I've noted such roles long happily default to what we now term WFH.
Likewise, Remote-First operations consider the rest of commerce bewilderingly slow to catch-on. With such delay deemed damaging.
So these increasing type of articles describe how offices are being deliberately re-imagined for hybrid working. A style where all-hands are seldom, if ever, to be in situ together. With more collaboration set to take place outside the old in-person/phone/email norms.
Indeed, this latter point is crucial for us in solution sales. As opportunities to meet IRL with prospects are thinning. They're not in their offices as much, either. And when they are, do they really want to see us?
We must go beyond the questions of what space, equipment and tech is needed.
As I feel that these issues of raw resource requirements ought come secondary to how we achieve connection, progression and productivity.
Then couple this with the other side of the line. How's this for one salesperson's wish. Attributed to a member of the LinkedIn salesteam, as reported in the HBR;
“It doesn’t make sense to come into the office on days where I will be in a meeting room for most of the day. So, I plan my visits when I can spend time meeting the team informally.”
In short, one significant approach cannot afford to be overlooked.
Whilst clearly less than say during 2020, if we're going to be doing a certain amount of video calls still - which we absolutely are, by the way - then we really owe it to ourselves, not to mention to our customers, to be doing them properly.
There are elements of your best-process sales activities for which video will yield greater results than if done by other means. To release such rewards, you cannot simply take what you did over the phone, personal meeting or even email and merely replicate them, as the person/people with whom you're selling to/working alongside stare at you on their laptop.
Nor can you leave the fate of your quota in the hands of an IT colleague kitting out their idea of a 'unified comms room'.
Current hybrid office redesign seems to be creating several different gradients of meeting areas, layouts and vibes.
Being a successful selling force right now means recognising this, not only for our formal office, but our informal one too.