Oct 20, 2022

Top lessons in building a Hybrid Workplace: Part 1

While this work model is relatively new, especially following the pandemic, there are some key lessons and questions that should be considered when integrating this model.

McKinsey predicts nine out of ten organizations will be combining remote and on-site working in the coming years. While this work model is relatively new, especially following the pandemic, there are some key lessons and questions that should be considered when integrating this model.

It’s no secret that Hybrid working is becoming progressively more permanent. Before adopting this model, companies must ask relevant questions about the impacts the switch has on human resources, leadership practices for engaging an international workforce, and office design.

Though many people have been working steadfastly under the Hybrid work model, leaders are continuing to ask these questions:

  1. When does interacting in real life really matter?
  2. How does Hybrid working affect career development and promotional opportunities?
  3. How did we allow workers to choose their schedule and balance while also maintaining and enforcing boundaries?

One approach is to design a framework to communicate the structure of your hybrid workplace to your company. These are some concepts to consider when crafting your vision for your ideal hybrid workplace:

  1. Equity in opportunity and career development.
  2. Redefine work
  3. Empathic leadership
  4. Regular check-ins
  5. Rules for flexible working

Establishing Equity: create a standard of offering equal opportunity for career advancement

Hybrid working is forcing company leaders to rethink who is afforded what career development opportunity and why. Is it based on workers’ conduct in office? Your observations of them in real life? If so, it’s time to re-evaluate your approach to make the transition to hybrid more fair and functional.

Executive Networks in partnership with MeQuilibrium conducted research among nearly 1,000 HR leaders, business leaders, and full-time workers uncovering the fear remote and hybrid workers have of proximity bias. When business leaders were asked their views on the connection of hybrid working and career advancement,61% of business leaders say their organization places more value on in-person work than remote or hybrid work, and 56% of employees agree with this.

In order for Hybrid working to be effective, companies need to redefine their pillars of success. Companies need to determine what constitutes an effective hybrid work session, and establish parameters around core communication and collaboration hours and what constitutes being productive during non-core hours. Most importantly, leaders need to establish what benchmarks of success are at a distance and define their protocol for rewards and promotions at a distance.

Redefine work: strive to create work-life balance

The pandemic taught us that remote working can cause major stressors and decline productivity if it is poorly delegated and managed. Back to back meetings, the expectation to respond rapidly to team chats, and the constant need to show that you are available digitally is causing burnout.

Creating a culture of hyper-responsiveness is a recipe for disaster. Establishing immediate response culture as a norm makes it virtually impossible to attain a healthy work life balance, causing great amounts of stress amongst the workforce.

Some strategies that can be employed include meeting free-work weeks as breaks from back to back meeting days, designated offline hours to allow workers to strictly focus on completing tasks.Essentially new ways of working that promote wellness and balance should be employed in the Hybrid context.

More lessons will be expanded upon in the forthcoming blog, Top lessons part 2.

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