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Why should you tolerate a workplace defined by stress, distraction and isolation? It’s time to shape a new one defined by trust, flexibility, focus and belonging. Organize work around your life, not the other way around.

Modern Work Index

The Modern Work Index helps you shape a people-first workplace and embrace a culture defined by trust, flexibility, focus and belonging. It takes just 2 minutes to fill out. Simply answer a few questions about how you work.
You’ll get a rating and some practical tips on how to build a culture that puts your employees first.

The principles behind the Modern Work Index

Trust, flexibility, focus and belonging are the core principles that determine your organization’s rating on the index. These principles influence your talent brand, the wellbeing and performance of your employees, and how healthy culture is nurtured. They reflect a paradigm shift in the employer-employee relationship, and can be the difference between success and failure for companies in this new world of work.
01

Rely on supervision

Supervision

Trust

Professional trust is more than the belief that a team member is reliable; it’s a mutual confidence that is earned through a relationship of faith in individual expertise or potential ability being reinforced with consistently fulfilled expectations. To build a track record that earns trust, teams need a reliable management structure that confirms your team is working effectively even when you can’t see them.

Five conversation starters to evaluate and strengthen team focus

  • Can you share some specific examples of times that you have felt that your team members really appreciate your contributions to the group?
  • What types of reactions help you feel confident when you’re sharing new ideas, questions, or feedback? Do you have any past experiences that have encouraged you to share your thoughts more or less openly with your coworkers?
  • Where do we see each other’s productivity throughout the week? How can we virtually share words of encouragement and congratulations on the great work that we see happening?
  • How can I tell that someone else is engaged and being an active contributor during meetings and calls?
  • What is the protocol if we receive a message that frustrates, offends, or hurts us?

Take action to improve trust: set and track KPIs

Confirm your team’s project management processes include measurable Key Performance Indicators that publicly set clear performance expectations for each team member. These metrics give them an asynchronous opportunity to prove their value and productivity to leadership and to each other.
02

Manage with constraints

Constraints

Flexibility

No longer bound by specific locations or set hours, flexibility in work is the new normal for businesses. In fact, 94% of organizations are enabling more flexibility as to where and when employees work. Whether teams are entirely remote or hybrid, workplace flexibility allows a company and its employees to be more focused on the quality of work, instead of where it is happening. When a team doesn’t share hours or space, it becomes even more essential for teams to communicate effectively to stay united.

Five conversation starters to evaluate and strengthen team flexibility

  • Do each of us have enough intrinsic motivation to proactively take initiative without being prompted or rewarded?
  • What resources do we have that help us independently analyze, evaluate, and strategize an issue?
  • Am I disciplined and accountable in my own time, tasks, and energy?
  • Do we each have a successful self-management method that enables us to adapt to changes and manage their impacts?
  • Without body language cues like head nods and thumbs ups, how do we communicate that a handoff of responsibility is complete? In other words, how do I know that I’ve “passed the ball”?

Take action to improve flexibility: write a flexibility policy

When designed effectively, a remote work policy is so much more than a checklist of terms for approval. It’s a mutual agreement of the expectations and guidelines that will be required for successful virtual productivity. Take the time to review and reinforce what working without supervision will depend on in your operational model, which will confirm your team is just as productive around the world as they would be in the office.
03

Help your team operate with chaos

Chaos

Focus

Focus is about unlocking our creative potential when we’re immersed deeply in something challenging. This deep work is often where we master our craft and produce stuff of real value. But the typical workplace promotes context-switching and this drains cognitive function. Human brains are not wired for a working day of glancing between your inbox, various different documents, slide decks, and more. No wonder that 45% say this makes them less productive and 43% say it is very tiring to switch between tools and communications channels all the time.

Five conversation starters to evaluate and strengthen team focus

  • Are there certain tools or channels that indicate an emergency? (A signal that if we get that type of message, we know to drop everything and respond asap, but all other channels can be silenced for deep work.)
  • Do we ever lose time or concentration looking for certain files or information? If so, are there commonalities between the types of resources that get lost?
  • Which hours each day should we reserve for meetings and collaboration, and which can we block off for independent working?
  • Have we consolidated our tools into a workhub and eliminated the most distracting ones?
  • What are your favorite strategies for re-energizing your mind when you feel distracted or blocked?

Next step: supplement your communication charter

Add more information into your team’s communication charter that supplements how and when to communicate, with how and when to NOT communicate. Include tips and expectations for blocking deep work time on your calendar, turning notifications off outside of business hours, and taking personal wellness breaks throughout the day.
04

Give them a sense of anonymity

Anonymity

Belonging

Belonging is the oxygen of company culture. The sense of security that we get from camaraderie is what makes trust, flexibility, and focus possible each day, and is created through consistent, positive interactions that communicate that we each provide valuable contributions, we share a future, and we are emotionally safe. In our research, 55% of respondents said they did not realize how heavily they relied on their job for social interactions. When you factor in that 53% of respondents also said their job feels more lonely since they began to work remotely, there are increasingly loud alarm bells warning of isolation and impending burnout.

Five conversation starters to evaluate and strengthen team belonging

  • When is our preferred time for “water cooler” conversations? Should we reserve a few minutes of each meeting agenda to small talk, or dedicate entire calls to just hanging out?
  • What are the unique qualifications, skills, or expertise that I contribute to this group? Why are you grateful that I am a member of this team?
  • How can we virtually replicate or redesign our favorite parts of the group celebrations that we had for birthdays, promotions, and meeting goals in the office?
  • Which tasks, projects, or brainstorming sessions would it be helpful to cowork on together using interactive screen sharing and video calls?
  • What do I act like when something is wrong? How would I like my team members to notice and/or support me during those times?

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