Jun 28, 2022

The evolution of the hybrid workplace model

Three women having a meeting in a modern office space that has adapted a hybrid working model.

Well before the COVID 19 pandemic, companies were beginning to separate where and how work gets done. Companies were beginning to understand that a strong productivity output is not codependent on a given location.

Moreover, Organizations are finally beginning to catch on to what remote workers have always known—that good work can get done from anywhere. In a recent Harvard Business Review Study Research: Knowledge Workers Are More Productive from Home (hbr.org) it became evident that lockdown revealed the true power of remote work.

These are some of the findings on behalf of the workers:

Lockdown helps us focus on the work that really matters. We are spending 12% less time drawn into large meetings and 9% more time interacting with customers and external partners.

Lockdown helps us take responsibility for our own schedules. We do 50% more activities through personal choice — because we see them as important — and half as many because someone else asked us to.

During lockdown, we view our work as more worthwhile. We rate the things we do as valuable to our employer and to ourselves. The number of tasks rated as tiresome drops from 27% to 12%, and the number we could readily offload to others drops from 41% to 27.

In a recent Work Survey fielded by Wakefield Research on behalf of ServiceNow, 87% of employees said the new way of working was an improvement.

Given these findings, many workplaces have naturally evolved to adopt a hybrid model. Research by Owl Labs found remote workers tend to be happier in their jobs than workers who never leave the office (22%). They also put in longer hours, working over 40 hours per week 43% more than non-remote workers.

The shift to adopting the hybrid work model can still be challenging. For example, in the past, creating and maintaining a proper workplace culture has historically been associated with being anchored to a given location. We now know that this can be cultivated across a variety of channels, and settings. Companies need to focus on how their values show up through a wider variety of settings and channels. This means that companies need to find consistent ways to keep their employees engaged and accountable to align with and build the company culture.

Setting clear expectations is key to enduring the shift to the hybrid workplace model. The greatest leaders come together to give their employees vision and inspire them to achieve that vision. With the hybrid work model, it becomes a little more difficult to lead by example and have the same impact from a distance. Trust, accountability, and clarity of purpose become paramount. Leaders must find clear and concise styles of communication and course correct when necessary.

Performance management is key in adopting a hybrid model. Results oriented environments allow leaders to focus on what matters. Utilizing clear benchmarks, metrics and deliverables will allow management to track progress adequately.

Ultimately, the shift to the hybrid work model has been gradually forming, but is worth it given more productive outcomes and greater employee satisfaction.

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