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How to Navigate the Shift to Hybrid

published5 months ago
5 min read

With the end of the pandemic drawing closer, more companies are looking ahead to what comes next. Research shows that 8 out of 10 companies, including big-tech giants, Apple and Google, will move forward with a hybrid model of some kind. But, while hybrid is popular with both employers and employees, the transition to hybrid can be far from smooth.

Scheduling questions, issues of fairness, and conundrums about the best use of physical office space all arise. Some research suggests that employees may want to work remotely more days per week than their employers would wish. In addition, the “grass is greener” syndrome sometimes crops up where employees working from home feel they are missing out on the in-office experience—including lunchtime camaraderie and opportunities for collaboration—while those in the office feel they are missing the flexibility and autonomy that comes from working remotely.

How do you navigate this brave new corporate world? Is it possible to accelerate your team to today’s new hybrid reality? I believe it is. That’s why I created my new Hybrid Working Foundations course. It’s specifically designed to provide you with the tools, intelligent advice, and practical tips you will need to manage the many intricacies of working hybrid.

In this 16-module course, I start by defining the hybrid model, which can vary widely from company to company. Next, I discuss the pros and cons of shifting to hybrid and share proprietary research along with real-world success models so you have all the information and inspiration you’ll need to successfully make the transition.

Over the past decade, I’ve conducted research with dozens of companies on every workplace topic imaginable. I’ve also written extensively about workplace issues—and truly, I maintain that going hybrid is one of the most important trends of our time. Get it right, and your company will save money and benefit from having more satisfied and productive workers.

I'm passionate about helping companies prepare for the future, and when it comes to the hybrid work model, the future is now! But because there is no single right way to go hybrid, I want to help you design a hybrid model that works best for your company. My goal is to show you how to maintain a strong workplace culture that nourishes creativity, celebrates inclusivity, and maximizes productivity across dispersed teams. Here’s a sneak peak of my course:

Hybrid means different things to different companies

In a work context, there are many different versions of hybrid—one size definitely does not fit all. Depending on the size of your business and the work involved, your company’s version of hybrid might even vary from team to team.

Some employers are allowing their people to work whenever or wherever they’d like. Others (like Apple) require a specific number of days in the office each week. Meanwhile, some have stated that they’ll base their arrangements on a person-by-person, team-by-team basis. Amazon, for example, recently confirmed that it will leave the return-to-work decisions to its individual team leaders.

Research from my company and WeWork shows that 79% of the C-suite intend to let their employees split their time between their corporate offices and remote working, if their job allows it. And there’s an excellent reason for this: done right, hybrid brings together the best of both the remote and in-person experience while increasing employee happiness. This, in turn, leads to higher retention and productivity.

Hybrid can also save your company a fortune on real-estate costs, it enables you to compete for the best talent, and it allows you to be more agile. With all of these benefits, it’s imperative to get it right, yet few companies feel confident they will. In fact, right now 2 out of 3 of companies lack a detailed strategy for handling the shift to hybrid.

How to create a best-in-class hybrid workplace

COVID provided us all with a grand experiment in remote work, and most companies discovered that this set-up worked far better than they ever imagined. But I believe that hybrid will be the way most companies of the future operate, and those who embrace it will enjoy a clear advantage in tomorrow’s workplace.

My course offers a step-by-step blueprint for your success. I’ll help you define a model that’s tailored for your workforce, including when people should come into the office and when it’s more effective for them to work independently. Both types of work are vital, but coordinating them is a feat. I’ll also show you how to set core hours when everyone on the team is reachable—either in the office or remotely.

Another topic I cover is how to create the right technology ecosystem, one that works for your people and your business. You may need to upgrade your tech stack so that all members of the team have an easy, stress-free way to communicate with each other no matter where they are located. Whether you’re convening a meeting, brainstorming using white boards, or working together on a shared document, the correct technology choices can help make the experience more seamless for all.

Make no mistake: achieving a best-in-class hybrid approach will require some trial and error. Realistically, you should anticipate that you might not get it perfect at first. There will be a learning curve that your organization faces along with individual learning curves that can vary greatly. Just as there are growing pains when a company expands, there are pains when a company decides to combine in-person and virtual work. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to review your hybrid model every few months and make any needed adjustments accordingly.

Explore the fundamentals of leadership in a hybrid work environment

There’s no question that the modern hybrid workplace requires new skills. You will need to learn how to manage its complexities while honing remote and in-person strategies to bolster connection, collaboration, and engagement. And once you get up to speed, you will need to train and develop your team members, and then provide a way to onboard new employees remotely. But if you’re up for the challenge, I look forward to guiding you through this new world of work, so you’ll have the tools you need to navigate this changing landscape.

Hybrid Working Foundations takes a 360-degree, comprehensive approach to transitioning your company to a hybrid model. The course includes 16 modules, covering these topics:

Introduction

  • Navigate the shift to hybrid working
  • What is hybrid working?

1. Manage the Complexities of a Hybrid Workforce and Workplace

  • Set clear and realistic expectations
  • Integrate technology tools to harmonize all workers
  • Review and improve your working model

2. Promote Collaboration and Connection

  • Manage when where and how people work regularly
  • Set a regular schedule of core hours working
  • Communicate effectively with hybrid workers

3. Create a Culture that Promotes Inclusion and Equity

  • Ensure all employee voices are heard
  • Avoid the bias of physical presence and favoritism
  • Create opportunities to solicit and act on feedback

4. Train and Develop your Team from Anywhere

  • Educate employees on hybrid teamwork and teach hybrid work skills
  • Mentor employees with commitment, purpose, and consistency
  • Support your team so they don’t leave you

5. Lead the Modern Workplace

  • Conduct virtual interviews with confidence
  • Onboard new employees from a distance
  • Oversee talent management for a hybrid workforce

Conclusion

  • Getting hybrid right improves engagement, productivity, and retention

Thanks for reading — let me know in the comments on LinkedIn if you've taken the course, and what you thought of it!