Humanity at Work: Returning to the Office with Jonathan Atwood
This fall, employees around the world will return to offices and desks they may not have seen for 18+ months. Not only will they face a physical transition—trading familiar work-from-home routines for workspaces that will either look like time capsules or be redesigned to accommodate distancing—but many will face mental and emotional barriers. Returning to offices and the human-to-human interactions they enable will be a reminder of just how much has changed since the pandemic started.
It’s important that employers get this transition right, and purpose will play an important role. To talk about the realities of returning to in-office work, and the critical need for empathy and humanity in the process, we welcomed to the show Jonathan Atwood, a former global communications head at Unilever, provocateur, and champion for the voice of employees.
Listen to this special two-part episode for Jon’s insights on:
- How his personal journey led him to be radically vulnerable with colleagues, in turn providing them with the space to have honest conversations at work
- How employers can navigate the return-to-office period with humility and transparency, and how purpose can act as a compass for decision-making
- The watch-outs surrounding this transition, including the reality that millions of front line employees never left their essential roles
- Why and how creating space for open communication and sharing can empower employees to bring their personal purpose to work, for the benefit of the entire organization
Links & Notes
- 00:00 – Welcome to Purpose 360
- 01:11 – Intro to Jon Atwood
- 07:54 – Helping Companies Get to This Same Unlock
- 10:52 – Jon and Unilever
- 15:07 – The Idea of “Mattering”
- 17:50 – Other Companies Setting the Bar Too Low?
- 19:01 – Hellman’s
- 22:44 – Turning Management’s No Into Yes
- 25:24 – Cage-Free Eggs
- 27:30 – Last Thoughts on Hellman’s
- 29:10 – Convincing the Team to Do the Hard Work
- 31:36 – Transforming the System
- 32:09 – Lifebuoy
- 37:31 – Five Key Tenets of Unilever’s
- 42:15 – Getting Back to Office
- 48:08 – Part II Next Episode
Business is an unlikely hero: a force for good working to solve society's most pressing challenges, while boosting bottom line. This is social purpose at work. And it's a dynamic journey.
Purpose 360 is a masterclass in unlocking the potential of social purpose to ignite business and social impact. We illuminate the growing impacts of purpose, from engaging employees and fostering deeper consumer loyalty to inspiring product innovation and increasing market share.