The 6 considerations to make hybrid work, work

| September 7, 2021

Post-pandemic, one thing is certain, the barriers to an environment where employees can mix home and office working, have now been removed and most organisations need to consider implementing a hybrid work approach, culture change expert, Collin D Ellis explains.

Some organisations embraced this early in the pandemic and are already reaping the benefits of being able to draw from a global pool of people. Yet there are some who are still pushing back on it in the hope that a full-time return to the office will be welcomed by staff. It won’t be.

In order to make the shift to hybrid working, organisations need to realise that it’s not simply a matter of writing a document or changing the name of their existing flexible working policy. It’s greater than that and, should they get it wrong, they are likely to lose the kind of talent that they’re looking to retain or, worse, create a legal minefield and become a case-study in ‘what not to do’.

There are six things that organisations need to consider to make hybrid working successful:

  1. Culture– The organisations that thrived during the pandemic were the ones who recognised that the way work gets done has changed significantly and as a result the micro-experiences between staff would have to change too.

In short, they spent time and money on redefining the culture of the organisation to support a ‘work from anywhere approach’. These organisations didn’t remove discretionary spending on people and culture development, they increased it!

  1. Eligibility– Flexible working involves being able to modify one’s working hours to cater for appointments or family engagements. Hybrid on the other hand relates to where productive work can take place. Flexibility of hours should be available for most if not all staff, however not everyone will be eligible for hybrid. This needs to be communicated clearly.
  2. Management– For hybrid working to function effectively managers will need an improved skill set. They need to know how to build strong relationships with their people so that empathy and compassion are prevalent when discussing working arrangements. They need to be master communicators, so that messages are clear and understood by all. And they need to be able to set expectations well (around outputs or outcomes, not working hours), to provide staff with the best chance of delivery.
  3. Workspace– For most organisations, hybrid working means ‘workspace’. However, ‘work’ is not a physical space, it’s what you’re able to achieve. Either as an individual or as team. You don’t go to work, you do it.

When it comes to working spaces, organisations need to not only rethink the way that their offices are laid out, but they also need to help their employees set themselves up for success at home or else in a co-working space.

  1. Technology– What got in the way of hybrid working for so long was not technology, it was human behaviour. Similarly, what determines whether technology enhances productivity, collaboration and the quality of working lives, is also human behaviour. It’s not enough to have a suite of tools that support collaboration, everyone needs to know how and when to use them and how to keep information secure in the process.
  2. Remuneration– Organisations such as Facebook and Morgan Stanley have already said that people who work outside of the major cities won’t get paid the same wage as those that do.

Also, setting oneself up to work from home can be an expensive business, so organisations need to be clear on how hybrid roles will be remunerated and whether any expenses will be provided to help people create a home environment that generates productive work.

The move to hybrid ways of working is long overdue and organisations who work in areas where talent pools are limited, need to move quickly to ensure that they’re considered an employer of choice. However, it’s not an approach to rush into. All of the above need to be considered and action taken to ensure that hybrid working is as productive as it can be.

What does the ‘new normal’ look like for your business?

Post a comment on First 5000 – Have your Say on LinkedIn today or email with your story.