The debate rages on for hybrid, to be or not to be…and why?
Companies like Velocity Global are all in on remote, while Elon Musk would rather we were all in the ‘darn’ office!
As we continue to navigate and adapt to these work models, the question seems to be should we or shouldn’t we continue offering flexible work modes or is a full-time office presence better? And better for what and for whom?
How does hybrid benefit our organizations?
We know that emote enables organizations to attract talent without geographic restrictions which is giving them access to a much richer workforce, also, we have seen some very promising results for productivity and satisfaction. People who have become accustomed to a remote/hybrid work style are in many cases very reluctant to give it up, whilst others are finding the disconnection and loneliness unbearable. We know that as many as 88% of organizations are using incentives to lure people back to the office, and many have sought to balance face to face with remote through policies around days in/out. Often these seem to have been arbitrarily decided, sweepingly enforced, and with little experimentation to find the optimal approach. Yet many employees are reporting soulless, half-empty offices where all they do is get on the very same video calls they are having remotely, and thus their enforced time in the office just isn’t offering the collaboration it is intended to or that they need.
Hybrid should be offering us the best of both worlds, whilst mitigating the limitations of each. Clearly, we’ve not quite got it right yet. There’s profound benefits to both orgs and employees in the right approaches to hybrid, but the wrong ones risk maximizing the downsides and losing out on the upsides.
Which one is the best solution?
The question shouldn’t be should we OR shouldn’t we? In a game decided by weighing up the pros and cons. Rather we should be asking how can we maximize the upsides of both remote AND in-person work models? Maybe the in person isn’t always in the office and the remote isn’t always at home, maybe it looks different for different teams/departments/locations, maybe it changes according to the time of year… Almost definitely the best solutions will vary by organization (no Jones’ to keep up with here!). Without doubt many are a way off finding their optimal (and that’s ok), driven by strong leadership, cultivated by the right culture, and optimized through the right tools and training, there is no reason why we have to choose one over the other. Instead, we can all become a ‘Pegasus’ that is fast, powerful, and can even fly when needed. Hybrid should mean stronger, more agile, more resilient, more intelligent. Optimization is an iterative process.
So, why, I ask, are we in such a hurry to nail our colours to the mast, when we could be experimenting how to build a better ship?