“What are the main challenges of hybrid work?” – a question that I’m being asked quite often these days. The topic is rather complex and not easy to answer at once. Why? Because there are many aspects to consider from different angles such as business operations, employee satisfaction and sustainability. I always tend to say that hybrid work is much more demanding than remote work because it combines both in-office practices with remote-first ones. Also, there’s no one size fits all approach here because we can distinguish different hybrid work models. Generally, they are based on the following ratio:
All team members divide their working time between the office space and home.
Some team members work from the office space and others are permanently remote.
Some team members always work from the office, some appear at the office every once in a while and others remain remote all the time.
No matter how we approach hybrid work – it’s definitely on the rise.
We observe numerous global statistics that prove this to be the new working model. Anyway, sole declarations to go hybrid don’t really tell us anything about the approach on hybrid work implementation. How should we tackle it from a strategic and operational perspective? What are the challenges and potential threats? Let’s dig into this topic a bit deeper.
I’ve spoken to numerous companies that have already declared to go hybrid but it turns out that it’s being much easier said than done. Organisations raise many concerns towards the workplace of the future and you can find the most common ones listed below:
Lack of equality
When several team members work from the office and others remain remote, it’s quite a challenge to make sure that everyone is treated equally. We want to avoid a situation in which in-office workers will have more perks and benefits, a better communication process and generally feel more privileged than remote ones.
Habits & mindset
If the company’s entire team was strongly office-centric in the past, it won’t be easy to get rid of many habits. Those can be chit-chats in the cafeteria concerning projects where some team members are remote and therefore missing out on updates, working based on a results-driven approach instead of clocking in and clocking out as an indicator of a full, productive workday or scepticism concerning apps and software that automates daily tasks.
All clients ask me how to make a hybrid meeting an amazing experience for everyone. Well, we definitely can’t let in-office attendees speak up without considering the voice of remote ones. Also, you can’t just schedule spontaneous meetings while walking down the hallway and hoping that remote team members are available at that very moment.
The role of the office
“How can we convince people to come to the office?” is also a common question these days. I always respond that it seems unnecessary to convince anyone if it truly makes sense to appear in the office. In other words: trying to go back to offices as we know them before the pandemic is a strong no. Consequently, we should redesign them towards active collaboration, brainstorming and fostering team spirit.
Making hybrid work…work
There are no doubts (at least for me) that the hybrid workplace is a win-win solution for both companies willing to embrace smart working, and team members asking for flexibility. Moreover, as we’re now in the digital working era it just seems wise to connect technology and people in order to embrace smart working. That’s why we should focus on several aspects that will lead to success and they are:
The same level of technological knowledge among team members,
structured communication guidelines (synchronous and asynchronous),
transparent workflow channels,
centralisation of tools,
less virtual meetings,
automation of repetitive tasks,
a results-based approach.
You can find all of them in my newest video in collaboration with Prezi.
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