Is Hybrid the New Normal?

Work: It’s What You Do, Not Where You Go!

Is Hybrid the New Normal?

As memories of lockdowns and strict STAY AT HOME, mandates fade, the horrors of the daily commute once again become uppermost in our minds. But is it really necessary? Surely, if the pandemic has shown us one thing it’s that we do not need to be AT work in order to DO work. This is borne out by a recent McKinsey survey of executives across industries and geographies, which confirms that productivity and customer satisfaction actually increased during the pandemic. If this spike is to be maintained post-pandemic, then employers & employees need to close the gap on their expectations.

While employers are ready to get back to significant in-person activities, most employees are not ready:

  • More than 75% of the executives surveyed expect core employees to be back in the office for three days a week or more
  • According to Cisco 57% of employees expect to be in the office 10 days a month or less, and 98% believe that future meetings will include remote participants

If this disconnect between employer and employee continues to grow, the shiny newness of a grand return to the office will soon lose its glow, in fact, it is already dimming to dangerously low levels as

26 percent of workers in the United States are already preparing to look for new employment opportunities and 40 percent of workers globally are considering leaving their current employers by the end of the year.

Is Technology the Answer?

Hybrid work is now the norm and that means the traditional ways businesses operate need to change. Office spaces need to adapt, and collaboration technology needs to advance to drive inclusivity, improve productivity, and enable interactivity regardless of location.

While working from home has brought benefits to the worker and employer, it has also created video meeting fatigue, increased burnout, and growing concerns that those working from home will be treated differently. Video meeting fatigue is likely compounded by remote participants feeling a lack of inclusivity in meetings.

Having the right technology could play a significant role in helping mitigate these concerns: 97% agreed that innovative virtual meeting capabilities would make participants feel more included. Additionally, 96% of respondents confirmed that proposed collaboration solution capabilities could reduce burnout, and 88% stated a “meeting-free day” would increase productivity. Many of the capabilities that would improve the inclusiveness of meetings also ranked highly in increasing meeting productivity.

Where To from Here?

The reality is that the hybrid work model is already here, and it is more complex than just being flexible about how many hours you spend AT work, as opposed to how many hours you spend DOING work. There is no magic “finish line” just around the corner. The re-configuring of work-life balance around the hybrid model is going to take years to figure out.

It is important for us all to acknowledge that no one has all the answers yet. As their companies transition to hybrid working models, we will still be trying to discover what the right longer-term working model (the one that works for most employees) will be. It will take a partnership between employers, employees, and technology to design the future of how our companies work.

Further reading:

McKinsey, It’s Time for Leaders to Get Real About Hybrid

PwC’s US Remote Work Survey – January 12, 2021

The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready?

The Future of Work is Hybrid

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