Donna Eiby, Founder of The Future Work Skills Academy recently joined the founder of Australian Community Managers, Venessa Paech, and Director, People & Organization at PwC Australia, Christie Rall on a panel hosted by Homelessness and Community Housing Peak Body QShelter.

The panel was formed to address an emerging challenge in the sector: a reluctance of employees to return to their physical workplaces. To be clear this does not mean to the frontline of service delivery; over 90% of workers surveyed didn’t want to return to an office regardless of the existence of a COVIDSafe plan.

It is unsurprising that frontline workers delivering direct services have concerns about their work environment. The largest survey to address this question was undertaken relatively early in the pandemic. KRC research found that 80% of employees had concerns about returning to work. That this extends to office spaces presents a significant challenge to employers everywhere.

The panel resoundingly confirmed that this trend was consistent across the countries and industry verticals in which they operate. This is unsurprising given the extremely disruptive nature of the pandemic. For most of us staying at home is one way we can control our environment. Who knows what work will look like if we return to the office?

Donna had this to offer:

It is worth remembering that human beings have a challenge traversing the liminal space – that space between where we are and the unknown. The threshold.

One way to get people moving across the liminal space is to have them build the bridge.

In my view the answer to how work will look next should (must) involve the people who do the work. Why? Well, for a start most of us had NO part to play in anything to do with designing the work we did before March 2020 (we did partially but most of us inherited it). That and they are actually the best people to co-create because of their tacit knowledge. And also, if they own it they are more likely to embrace it.

The answer IS within our teams. We have to trust that any process that involves ALL our stakeholders, driven from within, owned by the collective IS the way to move across the threshold.

To achieve this we have to recognise that many of us, more likely the majority of us, have neither the skillset, toolset or mindset to even begin to think about designing what is next. We have to mobilise to upskill our workforce to both design and thrive in a hybrid work environment.’

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To arrange an interview, contact Donna Eiby +61419 368 582 or

The Future Work Skills Academy

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