Hybrid is to 2021 as ‘pivot’ was to 2020. But anyone looking for best practices and answers about how to make it work for their organisation will have been disappointed. The truth is there’s no right or wrong, no rule book. We’re all finding our way through it and learning how to ‘office’ and how to ‘home.’
In our recent webinar (Culture & People Challenges in the Hybrid Workplace) we brought together some of the leading voices on hybrid working to discuss the challenges - and invited an audience burning with questions and experiences to share.
There were 5 key themes that came through the comments and questions from the session.
Hybrid working differs from previous flexible arrangements
Scale is what sets hybrid working apart. Hybrid working isn’t just working from home; it requires thought at a different scale to make it work. Moving from occasional working away from the office to a regular occurrence means different planning and engagement with your colleagues. Having to do this consistently and fairly, with employee groups and colleagues who might number in their thousands will require forethought.
Being intentional will help you scale
Being intentional about tasks and locations will help you scale. Choosing to work away from the office when you need focus, e.g., report writing, data analysis, etc, should be made available to people. Throughout the lockdowns, we have seen people take more responsibility for the planning of their workday and this should be encouraged further. However, recognising that collaborative activity will be better undertaken in a central place should lead to different task and job design. The data supports this – people in similar fields are more likely to be more creative if they work in the same locations.
Choose your channel wisely
From this design decision, we will expect to see better channel choice. We have spent enough times in offices knowing when meetings are unnecessary and through the time away from office, we have seen more meetings and quick calls to people working remotely. Deciding on which channel, frequency and form of communication requires thought, agreement, and planning.
Asynchronous working is key
The nature of work is changing, and asynchronous working will impact on the way that organisations function. Hybrid is more than location; people will have flexibility to choose when they work and making a success of different times and working hours will require clear principles to make sure that people don’t feel obligated to work longer.
Hybrid brings new D&I challenges and opportunities
Lastly, discussions turned to inclusivity and how people can access whatever platforms are in place. As well as equality and diversity, the issue of digital literacy needs to be addressed and that includes people’s ability to access the channels, as much as having the technology, bandwidth, and capacity to work in a different way.
The audience identified that digital learning and content have radically increased, and in many cases improved, over the past 18 months and there may be some nerves about a wholesale shift back to face-to-face classrooms. Our panel was in agreement; trying to create a hybrid learning session where some people are in the room and some are online-only creates an attendance deficit and should be avoided.
Luckily, technology has improved and the 5App Hub is leading the way to be able to respond to these challenges.
The 5App Hub - a platform to support hybrid working
To make hybrid working a success, organisations need to provide a simple and easy-to-use place to find and share important information and resources. Just doing this really well will go a long way towards supporting a culture built on trust and transparency. This is at the core of a hybrid working strategy.
The 5App Hub is a modern learning platform designed to improve employee experience in the digital workplace, making it easier to connect people with what they need to know when they need to know it. The Hub can be rapidly deployed and needs no training to get to grips with. Part digital learning platform, communications and knowledge sharing Hub, it is a hybrid platform to meet the needs of our increasingly hybrid workplace arrangements.
Hybrid working - access free resources
We have created a playlist of hybrid working resources you might like to access. It's free and contains the latest articles, blogs, discussions and opinions from some of the leading voices on hybrid working. Use your LinkedIn credentials to log in.
See the Hybrid playlist.