Truce at the watering hole

A great need means a change of behaviour

The Water Truce is from How Fear Came to the Jungle by Rudyard Kipling in the second Jungle Book. It tells about a drought which brings all the animals to gather at the last remaining pool in the Wainganga River under a "Water Truce", where the Law of the Jungle forbids anyone from hunting at the river banks.

Here at RAW Brothers we are seeing a common theme emerging in our workplace design process and it’s broadly this… 'How do I get people back to the office?' or 'What is the office for anymore?' All related to what kind of physical central office space do we need? These questions are important and necessary to help create a good workplace strategy.

Even if in reality Rudyard Kiplings concept about a truce at the watering hole is a myth, the point is a powerful one. Maybe this concept could help us with post pandemic questions around our approach to the physical central office space and those that will gather there.

We have all been through our own workplace drought and there is some trepidation around returning to the physical central office space with many questions around how, when and why. Maybe there is an office truce that workplace leaders can adopt to ease this process?

Kiplings narrative is that a great need means a change of behaviour, maybe this is where a possible clue lies. Can we as workplace leaders identify what behaviours might need to change which would encourage people to gather back at the physical central office? What might those behaviours that need to change be – people won't be judged, forced or poorly communicated too? But rather a return to the physical central office space would be a safe, good and refreshing experience. That we would be able to stand shoulder to shoulder, acknowledge the drought we have all been through and feel safe.

We understand workplace leaders are facing challenges around process and culture in the landscape of reshaping work but this truce thought could be a fantastic message to send out. A message that is far more likely to attract people back to gathering. A message that could also provoke some refreshing and inspiring new workplace design concepts.

It's human nature to want to ask the obvious questions like how, when and why – we are fed the obvious everyday through the news. But the deeper, more powerful thoughts often come through thinking differently, thank goodness for those that do think differently in arts and culture so we can be inspired to think differently in the workplace world to – thanks to Rudyard Kipling!

So we encourage you with your next workplace challenge in the coming post pandemic world – what could your truce at the watering hole be?

Images by Emil Kotrba and Unsplash.

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