In our executive coaching work with working parents we have noticed different groups emerging, defined by their response to the crisis. The group that is most concerning as we continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, we have dubbed the Hiders.
Hiders are quietly pleased that they will continue to work from home. It allows them to stay in their safe bubble, get on with their work, switch off from office politics, switch on their focus, get their work done with less interruption and manage their family life. You might wonder what is concerning about this as there are clearly benefits.
For hiders home working provides a way of staying safe and unseen but with this comes a loss of visibility and impact, possibly to the detriment of career progression. We are seeing some working parents deliberately play small in order to stay off radar and manage the many competing demands on their attention and their time. This becomes embedded and emerging from this becomes harder.
Hiders may not want to return to the workplace five days a week when the office doors are allowed to open again, but if they are never literally in the room, or the corridor, or standing by the water cooler they could lose out. More visible colleagues who are working off the old paradigm stated by a coachee that “to get ahead you have to show ambition and be at work. Spending time at home rather than the office, you stagnate” will win out.
Do you have any hiders in your team that may need a gentle light shone on them? The longer the pandemic goes on the harder the transition will be so seek them out now.