Evolving Your Hybrid Workplace For Success

A recent article by Fast Company has highlighted some of the potential downsides to the 3-2 hybrid work model that many companies are starting to adopt, labelling it as ‘the worst return to office strategy’.

Key insights include:

  • Some work needs to be done on-site, but work that doesn't isn't more efficient at the office. In fact, productivity increases with remote working (anywhere from 5-29%)
  • Dictated hybrid models like 2/3 remove autonomy, freedom and the positive operating rhythms people set up during remote working, triggering a threat response
  • Culture is not built around a building. It's built around shared everyday habits – a digital culture can be more inclusive because it enables connection across multiple geographies.

Rather than adopting a ‘one-size-fits-all' approach, authors Laura Cassiday and David Rock suggest organisations leverage a growth mindset and experiment with different approaches, with a focus on bringing people together in person when it's helpful.

Studies they reference have shown, for example, whilst face-to-face interactions produce more ideas and more creative ones than virtual interactions, virtual calls are just as effective for making decisions as to which ideas to pursue. In addition, there is evidence that well-designed virtual learning can be 50% more effective than in-person learning for driving behaviour change.

One key factor driving the move to get people to return to the office is the mindset of traditional leaders who feel the need to ‘see’ staff in order to manage them. By engaging leaders in developmental change that challenges the ‘command/control’ mindset, organisations can support their leaders to transcend the need for control and enable more flexible ways of working.

Companies can also overcome the false notion that deep relationships can only be built in person by incorporating human-centred approaches to virtual group dialogue into their operating rhythm. Developing a consciously connected workforce doesn’t have to happen in situ.

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