Hybrid work is a problem. Here are 4 ways to make it work in the long run

Estimated read time 6 min read

Hybrid work is a problem. Here are 4 ways to make it work in the long run

Hybrid work may have become a habit for many employees. But this is still an unusual way of working that requires adaptation time for others.

One of the problems is isolation, even for people like me, who have spent more than ten years working from home as a self-employed person.

Before the pandemic, my professional life was interspersed with trips for interviews with people in the flesh. I would go to prestigious corporate offices and talk one-on-one with CIOs, or I would go to an event and chat with some of the speakers. From time to time, I had an interview by phone.

But there’s one thing I’ve never done before: video chats. All that changed, of course, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to take refuge at home. Video conferencing tools, such as Zoom and Teams, then experienced a real boom.

Today, three years later, video chats have become the norm. True, the growth of these video platforms has slowed down significantly, but this was to be expected after the pandemic. However, regular trips to headquarters for one-on-one interviews have not returned, at least in my professional life. Just send a video link and the interview is done online.

I know that this is also the case for professionals from other sectors. An executive told me the other day that working from home – even after the rise of hybrid work – still involves sitting alone in a room for hours. Isolation and boredom are only intermittently broken by a video call. And people who are far from the headquarters always feel excluded.

Some companies are tired of the difficulties of managing the great experience of working from home – and they want their employees to come back to their desks, at least for a large part of their working week. However, some pioneering companies are implementing a successful hybrid work strategy. How do they reap the benefits? Four business leaders give us their best advice.

1. Finding the right balance

Adam Warne, CIO of River Island, explains that working remotely in a quiet environment can be a great way to ensure productivity. But working hard to achieve your own goals is not the only reason why you are employed by a company.

“We are all human beings and we work with each other,” he explains. “For hybrid work to be effective, there must be an element of interaction. There must be connectivity, both with the company and with the team.

According to Mr. Warne, balance is essential; therefore, we must find the right reasons to bring people together in the office. “At River Island, it’s about making sure that people are there for a specific reason and not just to do presenteeism, and making sure that the people who need to work together are able to do it,” he explains. “If you work with a colleague, it is essential that you do not find yourself in a situation where one of you comes to the office and the other works from home”.

Mr. Warne explains that his team does not have mandatory days in the office. On the contrary, his organization’s hybrid work strategy is focused on collaboration. “We adopted the principle of the team first and the individual second,” he explains. “So, if I personally want to be at home, but the rest of my team needs to be there, I will go to the office”.

2. Try a radical approach

Carter Cousineau, vice president at Thomson Reuters, leads a global team whose members have always worked from home, even before the pandemic. However, the hybrid work made it possible to achieve an even higher level of flexibility in his organization – and the key to success was constant communication.

Ms. Cousineau continues to listen to her team’s comments. One staff member suggested that the hybrid meetings of the entire team created a great gap between those who were present and those who were not. “Since our team is international, the different teams are always on the screen, while others were in the conference room,” she explains. “The people present on the screens had the impression of missing the walk to the meeting room and missing part of the dialogue that was taking place in the office”.

Ms. Cousineau’s solution was radical: “Our meetings with the entire team are now always done through the screen,” she says. “No one is meeting in the conference room. This approach brings people together because they are all in the same situation”.

3. Setting the rules of the game

Jeff Singman, vice president at Arkos Health, believes that a successful hybrid approach starts with a good work experience. Arkos relies on a mixture of office and remote work. Jeff Singman estimates that 80% of IT work is done at home. According to him, the possibility of working from home is an asset when it comes to attracting talent. Working from home also has other advantages: it is more efficient.

“Productivity is higher,” he explains. “But when you have a remote workforce, you have to establish rules of conduct.

Mr. Singman gives the example of the responsiveness and clarity of emails. Guidelines for meetings are also important. “You shouldn’t invite all the people you can think of,” he explains. “Instead, we record the meetings and the participants can view them at a time that suits them best and continue to be productive.

4. Develop an integrated strategy

Cynthia Stoddard, CIO of Adobe, wants to make sure that her company will not lose what it has earned during the remote work period imposed by the pandemic.

She highlights the ease with which people use video conferencing tools and their ability to use these technologies to support more flexible working practices. One of the main elements of support is now the employee experience group, which brings together the elements of a traditional IT organization – such as office assistance, collaboration tools or telephony – and ensures that any new system meets the needs of business users.

Since the pandemic, Adobe’s Human Resources IT has been part of the employee experience group and Mr. Stoddard has worked to ensure that there is a close relationship with the facilities function. The goal of this integrated approach is to ensure that Adobe thinks about all the elements of its hybrid work strategy, including where people sit and how they interact when they are in the office.

“After COVID, many redevelopment works have been undertaken in order to accommodate people who come to the office half the time. How can we open the offices and equip people with the right tools? We have also invested a lot in content and content taxonomy so that people can find what they need to do their job, which is a problem in many companies”.

Source: “ZDNet.com “

You May Also Like

More From Author