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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Reimagining the Workplace: What Have We Learned About Hybrid?


There is an old saying, necessity is the mother of invention. There is definite truth to it and you see it in all facets of our lives. The chocolate chip cookie, for instance, was created when a cook ran out of cocoa powder and chopped up chocolate thinking that it would melt when cooked.


In a whole different category is what happened in the business world when the pandemic hit. Companies had to quickly pivot and create hybrid models of operation in order to survive. Now that organizations have had time to catch their breaths, workplaces are trying to decide what to keep and what to change as we enter a new era of business.


According to a 2022 report from Resume Builder, 77% of companies said that their existing hybrid policies will change in 2023 with 99% of companies reporting they will require employees to return to the office in some way. 20% of survey respondents said they would require employees to come back full time. 40% said they will require workers to come in four days a week and 31% said that they will require staff to report 3 days a week.


It is clear from this data that employees and businesses have mixed feelings about hybrid workplaces. Most of these feelings come from a lack of clarity about an effective process to evaluate if a hybrid model fits their culture and business model. It is the natural discomfort that comes from defining “a new normal”. Not every industry can offer a hybrid environment, but for those that are considering it, what does a hybrid environment offer the workplace?


Improves Work Life Balance

With the current workforce, work life balance is a priority. Ask any HR Manager about the types of questions they are asked by prospective employees. They will tell you that most of the questions center around how the job will fit into their lives. Hybrid offers the ability for employers to provide increased flexibility to employees. This type of flexibility is important in achieving the work life balance that this generation of workers seeks.


Expands the Talent Pool

While the employee gets more flexibility to balance their lives, employers get more choice in who they can hire. No longer are employers restricted to hiring in their local community. They don’t have to risk losing a talented prospect because the applicant doesn’t want to move. Being able to hire from around the world can increase diversity and bring fresh ideas and skills to the employee pool.


Facilitates Productivity

The hybrid environment can lead to increases in productivity. An employee who needs a quiet day with minimal distractions to get a project done has the option to be more efficient by staying at home. On the other hand, the team member who thrives on in person interaction can receive the benefits from collaboration at the office.


The research points to the importance of including some in person interaction in hybrid policies. When solely remote, teams don’t develop relationships. This inhibits creativity and productivity. Research shows that remote workers do not tend to replace in-person interactions with virtual ones. When that zoom meeting is over, virtual workers don’t stay on to chat and get to know each other. A study of 60,000 Microsoft employees found that remote work caused them to “become more static and siloed, with fewer bridges between disparate parts.”


The current research suggests that hybrid work is the wave of the future, but what does that look like? Check out next week’s blog where we will present a variety of hybrid models to get you thinking about the possibilities for your company.


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