The post-pandemic workplace demands that organizations effectively manage critical changes and unique challenges by embracing the Future of Work something we’ve never seen before. One way that organizations have navigated this is through the adoption of hybrid work models, which serve to meet a growing demand for a blend of in-office and remote work.1 Although often well intentioned, many organizations lack a critical element in their approach to hybrid… flexibility.
Unlike hybrid models that are based on highly structured or rigid expectations around office attendance, flexible hybrid models recognize and account for the unique needs of individuals (“me”) as well as the teams and organizations they operate within (“we”). While naturally more complex, the flexible hybrid model has been shown to increase productivity, engagement, and talent over time, proving to be the preferred model for both employees and employers in most cases.2,3 Below are some key concepts to adopt that can help clarify the “me” and “we” elements of hybrid work:
Understanding and, when possible, accommodating for individual preferences in the hybrid workplace is essential to building a sense of support and commitment. To facilitate an understanding of “me,” ask yourself and those you lead questions such as:
- What aspects of remote work would you like to maintain? What about being in the office have you missed most?
- How would you like to spend your time in the office? What is better to do from home?
- What is the ideal hybrid work scenario for you personally?
To further demonstrate your consideration of “me,” ensure that employees know these factors were considered in decisions made about hybrid work arrangements.
When individuals can see the value of their work beyond the role they perform, employee engagement, performance, and team culture can benefit.4,5 To achieve this, team members must develop a shared understanding of why they work together. To help develop this sense of “we,” hybrid work models should be based on considerations such as the following:
- How to best meet the needs and preferences of the team and clients served
- Office culture and physical collaboration expectations
- The personal connections and time together that colleagues need
- The role requirements of those on the team
If leaders can demonstrate flexibility by integrating into conversations and critical decisions both “me” and “we” components, our hybrid policies and workplaces will be better for it.
This blog was written in part by April Dyrda, a prominent speaker in the WWi Speakers Bureau. To learn more about April Dyrda and to request her for YOUR next work wellness event, visit the WWi Speakers Bureau page.
1 Nobes, C. (2022, January 11). INFOGRAPHIC: 2022 Return to Work Trends. Achievers. https://www.achievers.com/workforce-institute/infographic-return-to-work/
2 Elliott, B. (2021, January 28). Hybrid rules: the emerging playbook for flexible work. Slack. https://slack.com/blog/transformation/emerging-hybrid-playbook-flexible-work
3 Wigert, B. (2022, March 15). The Future of Hybrid Work: 5 Key Questions Answered With Data. Gallup. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/390632/future-hybrid-work-key-questions-answered-data.aspx
4 Gallup, I. (2022, August 23). What Is Employee Engagement and How Do You Improve It? Gallup. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/285674/improve-employee-engagement-workplace.aspx#ite-357473
5 Wiles, J. (2022, January 13). Employees Seek Personal Value and Purpose at Work. Be Prepared to Deliver. Gartner. https://www.gartner.com/en/articles/employees-seek-personal-value-and-purpose-at-work-be-prepared-to-deliver