Fundamental discoveries that have changed the world are usually measured by inventions or events such as penicillin, the internal combustion engine, the telephone, or the moon landing. Some of them have caused whole revolutions in the organization and scaling of work. The Industrial Revolution transformed the economy and created large-scale productivity. The Internet is a great example of using technology to reimagine the way we do business. So today, we are in the midst of a change that only happens once in a generation: hybrid work, the unforeseen and unexpected result of Covid and cloud cross-pollination.
These changes force a change in thinking, priorities and the way we work. With so much change in today’s evolving world of work, opportunities are coming. There is a new, rapidly changing professional landscape that brings together people, spaces and technology. It is hybrid, complex, and requires employers and employees to consider critical contradictions that can help or hinder a successful transition.
Redefining work is not easy; employers have to make tough decisions that, in the end, can make employees feel like they have to either accept it or move on. Not all sectors may also permit or allow work from home, such as frontline workers and merchants. In any case, if done poorly, changes in work patterns or habits can be a source of dissatisfaction and brain drain. Done right, they can increase business agility and resilience, as well as attract and retain talent.
However, successful implementation is not black and white, it is a spectrum consisting of many shades of color. Some companies are “near-hybrid” while others are “hyper-hybrid”. Most of them constantly change positions or take a wait-and-see attitude. This attitude is not dictated by size or industry: some large companies have introduced strict office rules, while others value autonomy and flexibility. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to hybrid work policy.
Any large enterprise will have a combination of office or on-site staff and distributed teams. Thus, different opinions are to be expected as employees will want different working conditions depending on their specific needs or preferences. In fact, conflicting hybrid requirements can be met by providing the right tools, settings, and support.
Employees, the force of change at work
Whether an employer sends employees back to the office or gives them a choice depends on whether they want to find the right formula in a rapidly changing environment. Do we have strong leaders focused on the collective benefit and not on the small? Are teams autonomous enough to make their voices heard? Do they see themselves as part of the solution, not part of the problem? Is the corporate culture strong enough to bring all employees together during a major transformation?
When employees are truly listened to and have everything they need to perform at their best, wherever they are, they become happier and more successful. People all over the world have just experienced the greatest job change experience known to mankind in our time for two years. Remote work began as a forced change in an atmosphere of uncertainty and mass disease. This affected the entire population. This is not a unique experience or an anomaly.
Hybrid work has emerged as a winning model after the worst of the pandemic is over and the opportunity to take stock of what actually happened to work as it was known arose. The future of work is being rewritten with employee well-being – in hybrid configurations – as a critical success factor. It doesn’t matter whether teams prefer to work at the kitchen table or in the conference room, whether their meetings are held in person or through a digital presence.
It’s easy if you invest in the right solutions, i.e. the right collaboration tools, speakers, headsets and cameras. At the same time, a person invests in corporate culture and technology in order to bridge the gap between physical and digital presence. When the employee experience is the same—when remote employees truly feel like they are part of the call, are on, see, and hear as if they were physically in the room—it is possible to say goodbye to the traditional idea of being in the workplace.