The future of work will be wow!

15 July 2021

Marco Russomando's editorial

Head of HR & Organization

2020 was a year of challenges in all its aspects.

A period of great change and acceleration, where the world of work has been one of the most emblematic examples of transformation or, if you like, acceleration towards a future that has become closer.

When the pandemic broke out, we activated the smart working for all the illimiters within few hours. The agile working, in which I believed and still deeply believe, was already planned for one day a week. Thanks to our fully digital and fully on cloud architecture, which allows normal operations even remotely, the transition was smooth and immediate.

Today, after 18 months, we have learned that working in a versatile way without constraints is our new way of working, thinking more and more in terms of trust, responsibility and objectives with the awareness that work, wherever it is conducted, has the same value. We also understood how much live confrontation, being together, is essential to stimulate training, creativity and innovation. These conclusions were reached together, through listening and dialogue with all the illimiters.

In view of the return to the new normal, we launched an internal questionnaire to reflect on the opportunities of our working model and to take action. The result was the birth of illimity w.o.w. (way of working), a project co-designed with the illimiters, that allows people to work half in the office and half elsewhere, not necessarily at home, combining individual freedom and shared responsibility. Technology plays a key role in this new way of working. That's why we have developed an in-house App for reserving desks and, later, meeting rooms and parking lots near the office, transforming the very structure of the bank into a co-working space. With illimity w.o.w., in fact, we have moved from the logic of "my" desk to that of an office in which one's own workstation is dynamic and brings together illimiters from different areas and divisions, facilitating contamination and encouraging even more innovation.

Ours is a model that evolves towards the "how" as compared to the "where", with hybrid work and social spaces that create new habits and change others, creating the prerequisites for a greater centrality of managers as coaches in the guidance and development of the illimiters and orchestrators of superior and sustainable performance over time, through the strengthening and diffusion of life skills such as trust, empathy and exemplariness. There can be no quality leadership without a followership of equal value and, I would add, of equal values.

Quoting Mary Parker Follett: “Leader and followers are both following the invisible leader - the common purpose. The best executives put this common purpose clearly before their group. While leadership depends on depth of conviction and the power coming therefrom there must also be the ability to share that conviction with others, the ability to make purpose articulate. And then that common purpose becomes the leader.”

I think it will now be impossible to go back. A more open and flexible mindset of smart working will certainly remain, but it is up to companies to take the next step by trying to think in inclusive "and/and" terms rather than in antithetical "either/or" terms.

Twenty years from now, I imagine scenarios in which workers will self-assign tasks and goals, but it will be up to them to decide how and with whom to achieve them, and above all where they will be working.

With illimity w.o.w. we want to promote a model that combines presence and proximity, within a wider ecosystem based on the values of freedom, innovation and responsibility.

I've always believed that any organization works best when those who are part of it feel like protagonists, and that's also why, before launching each of these initiatives, we have always turned to the illimiters, asking what measures they consider to be priorities.

Because in order to enhance and improve, we need to act collectively.