hybrid working

The Hybrid Work Model – Making work, work for you

The future of business seems to be hybrid work – combining office and remote work. How can leaders ensure an equitable, positive experience for all. Ria explores the how hybrid work can work for you…

The Hybrid Work Model – Making work, work for you 

The world of work has changed. 

Where the pattern for many people was commute-work-commute-home, all three have combined into a new normal of primarily working from home. 

But with offices opening up again, a hybrid approach to work seems to be popular, where employers can offer their workforce the best of both worlds. 

Jack Kelly recently evaluated the hybrid work model in Forbes, highlighting where ‘serious problems’ might crop up. Kelly suggests possible issues like employees growing resentment towards others who choose to work differently, management having to deal with a ‘logistical headache’ or even pay issues that occur when employees receive the same pay, yet have extremely different lifestyles and living costs. And much like any other work model, there will be issues that affect both managers and the workforce alike. But what the pandemic taught us is the importance of a human-centric approach, whether that’s to our work model or our customers. 

So, how do you avoid these pitfalls and make hybrid work?

At NKD, we feel that the value of hybridity is worth it, for what it offers us, as individuals.

Feeling the yoke of Big Brother watching, even if they weren’t looking, they’ll start searching for a new job to get away from a perceived micromanaging boss.”

PITFALL: Heightened surveillance to keep track of employees that creates distrust. 

OPPORTUNITY: Building trust as a two way street within the workforce that benefits productivity, but also the lives of employees. 

With working from home, trust within our companies has been tested more than ever before, which might have been the preparation we needed. Whilst managers might worry to trust employees in a hybrid work model, studies suggest this level of autonomy in the workforce generates great results. According to The Neuroscience of Trust, those at high trust companies report 76% more engagement, 74% less stress and 50% higher productivity.

After all, if we can work well in and out of the office, what’s to say a blend of both wouldn’t work?

The remote workers will start feeling left out.”

PITFALL: The possibility of a two-tier class system.

OPPORTUNITY: With strong communication, more autonomy produces a happier and more productive workforce.

Whilst there are chances of a split or a ‘two-tier class system’ developing, clarity in coordination and communication can help ease this. And where previously, working in the office full time might have been difficult for some employees, the opportunity to be more flexible is not only motivating but healthy – for individual mental health and the workforce as a whole.

When the choice is down to employees, they have the autonomy to create a happy new normal, without fear of judgement. 
In a recently recorded ‘McKinsey Talks Talent’ podcast episode, Bill Schaninger suggested that a way to manage a ‘two-tier’ possibility is to ‘be intentional about managing for it. Set norms so that people who are not in the office feel included’ whether that’s utilising messaging channels effectively or having people in office on individual video screens.

The hope in the headache

Strong communication and time management are integral to the hybrid model in return for the human-centric, people focused intent. Schaninger also commented in the podcast how “this is an unbelievable opportunity to remake culture. It’s rare in a leader’s lifetime to have such a clean drop for reshaping how you run the place”.

So, whilst the task at hand for managers to run a hybrid workforce is unprecedented, there is an opportunity to grow skill sets whilst also keeping employees comfortable and motivated. 

Human-centric thinking is the glue that holds hybrid together. 

The pandemic made many of us reassess our normal day to day, where the ‘new normal’ is just that – new. Whilst the hybrid work model strays from tradition, it appears to be the next natural step for a world of work emerging from a pandemic.