If you’ve moseyed on over here we reckon you’re pretty keen to find out what does ‘hybrid work’ mean – as in, what is the definition of ‘hybrid work’ and how is hybrid work going to impact you and your workplace over the coming years.
You’ve likely heard the whispers (or full-blown shouts) for increased flexibility in the workplace post-COVID-19. We all now know how easy and how enjoyable it can be to work remotely. But at the same time you’ve also found that there are some tasks that just seem to flow better when you’re in a room of like-minded people, able to converse and collaborate in real-time.
That’s the beauty of hybrid work, but before we get to gushing over this growing workplace trend, let’s define what the term ‘hybrid work’ actually means.
What does hybrid work mean?
Hybrid work is a dynamic, relatively recent approach to structuring the workweek of specific departments or even entire workforces within an organisation. Those that operate in a hybrid work model typically spend a couple of days per week in a centralised office and a couple of days per week working from home.
From our recent research into the State of Remote Work we’ve found that over 77% of people surveyed prefer a hybrid work arrangement. It’s not surprising in the slightest to us – people want more flexibility, autonomy and control in the way they show up to and perform work tasks. Many people, after experiencing the flexibility of remote working throughout the pandemic, found that they were better able to focus on work tasks, were more creative and had more time to be able to dedicate to staying healthy and enjoying personal pursuits outside of work hours. Without a commute, extra time in the day opened up for many of us and now after experiencing a taste of remote work, many can’t imagine going back to the office full-time.
Will more workplaces adopt a hybrid work model in future?
While it’s still relatively early days in the world of hybrid work, many organisations have already announced their commitment to embracing both remote work and hybrid work options for their employees moving forward. Some organisations like the ones mentioned in this article have gone as far as to completely adjust their workplace policies for all staff to enable a full-scale transition to a hybrid work model. There have also been many organisations downsizing to fewer offices or fewer office floors in existing arrangements to account for the decreased need for all staff to be in the office at the same time.
Gartner has reported that 60% of HR leaders are planning for a hybrid work future which is a great sign for both employees and leaders who are seeking greater flexibility and autonomy in their work. We’re predicting an increasing focus on work-life balance, coaching and virtual leadership skills as well as digital savvy to enable hybrid work teams to perform at their best.
Are there negative implications for the move to hybrid work?
As with all great change there are inevitably going to be challenges and new problems that arise for organisations that move to a hybrid work structure. Leaders are going to need to build the skills and implement new approaches to guide and support their teams while working remotely and in the office. As for employees, to avoid feelings of isolation and mitigate miscommunication (and the conflict that can arise from this) decision makers in the Learning and Development space will need to equip their people with contextual, quick-to-implement and effective training that touches on the areas of hybrid team communication, hybrid team performance, hybrid team culture and hybrid team autonomy.
To enable the workplace culture to thrive and remain strong in a hybrid work environment, workplaces will also need to rethink the way they approach team offsites and workplace team gatherings. A lot of interpersonal connections can go out the window when employees are working in a hybrid fashion, missing each other as they work to different schedules, so this needs to be kept in mind when crafting new hybrid cultural rhythms and rituals.
Hybrid work presents an exciting opportunity for any workplace willing to take up the challenge. While all change has its pros and cons, we’re confident that the sooner workplaces are able to pick up and move to a hybrid model, the better placed they’ll be for the future of work.
If your organisation is considering the move or have already starting plans for a hybrid work approach we’d love to guide you on the path to hybrid team excellence. Take a look at our High Performing Hybrid Teams program or, if you’re a bit of a bookworm, check out the handbook we put together on becoming a world-class hybrid team, Work From Anywhere.