So many organisations have publicly disclosed their future ways of working intentions and it would seem that Hybrid Working has become all about the use of space, rather than about culture, ways of working and employee experience. From memory of reading so many articles, the only organisation to discuss their culture/values/behaviours was Goldman Sachs, and that was not exactly out of choice.
Picking up on the theme of one of my previous blogs here is a round-up of business intentions in relation to future working patterns. I’ve also included a long list of news headlines further down the blog too – enjoy!
Hybrid working isn’t about the same cultures, behaviours and experiences but working in a different location. Hybrid working needs:
- Trust and empowerment – to enable people to make there own informed choice of where/how they work depending on the task being completed.
- Listening and communication.
- Spaces to bring people together – to connect and build a sense of belonging.
- Technology to enable mobility, collaboration and work to get done.
- Continued opportunities for people to learn and be mentored.
- A mindset shift: work isn’t where you go, it is what you do. The physical space should be a destination people want to go to, not forced to go to.
- Human Leadership to be attentive to employee wellbeing.
- Change Management to ensure hearts and minds across the organisation are on the same journey.
- Data in relation to intended behaviours versus actual behaviours.
- Knowledge/Task workers: Ensure clarity about each of the job roles involved to help people decide which tasks are best suited to which environment.
- Support Services: FM / HR / IT / the Exec all need to talk to each other and work together to drive employee experience and enable people to achieve their potential.
- Evolution – Measure, refine, deliver, repeat. Focus on continuous improvement and the marginal gains.
Hybrid working isn’t for everybody, there isn’t a right answer or one right approach, only right questions to ask:
- How do your people want to work?
- Why do your people work? Who is the end customer? When do they need your services?
- What’s working what’s not?
- How do we create a fulfilling and equitable experience for all?
- How do you foster a culture in which leaders see it as their responsibility to design and execute social-connectivity practices for their teams?
- When employees work remotely, how do you replicate the ad hoc, serendipitous encounters with colleagues who work on the same team or were once down the hallway?
- How do you maintain team cohesion when some people are working remotely while others are onsite?
- What steps should you take to help employees manage the blurring of work-life boundaries and the cognitive overload from being digitally engaged all day?
- What benefits, incentives, and structures might you put in place to encourage well-being?
- What digital tools do employees need in a non-office-centric workplace—particularly to support collaborative tasks?
- What role does the company play in either providing the physical tools and equipment needed to work from home, such as external monitors and ergonomic chairs, or compensating employees so that they can purchase them?
- When part of the team is in the office and part of it is at home, how do you develop norms to ensure that everyone feels included?
- What does our organisation want and need to use the office for?
We’ve been presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine work and the workplace, we need to grab hold of it tight, take the learnings and focus on the recovery. Our people need our focus to enable them to recover from what, for so many has been a traumatic and stressful period. Hybrid is good for the people therefore it’s good for the business.
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make genuine change, on a global scale, in the words of Ru Paul…
Physically distant, emotionally connected, just keep going!
Here are some key headlines from 2021 so far:
7th January: Sky Bet ‘promotes’ WFH hybrid with new office design
19th January: AXA deploys global “smart working strategy”
21st January: Aviva to close offices in hybrid working plan
4th February: KPMG considers cutting office space as part of WFH plans
4th February: Revolut announces a permanent move to flexible working
11th February: Salesforce to reduce office footprint permanently
12th February: City centre housing rents fall as tenants move to suburbs
19th February: Dropbox takes $400m hit after move to sublease office space
24th February: Lloyds to axe a fifth of office space
24th February: Schneider Electric Offers Employees Workplace Flexibility
24th February: Why the future of work will look like a video game
9th March: Hybrid working will become the norm
23rd March: The future of work? It’s a hybrid experience
25th March: Nationwide tells 13,000 staff to work anywhere
31st March: PWC announces post-covid hybrid working strategy
13th April: Boohoo buys London office for £72m
15th April: Hybrid working is changing real estate
16th April: Hybrid working risks becoming a meaningless term
19th April: Why 2021 Will Be the Year of Work From Anywhere
20th April: Bank of Ireland unveils hybrid working model
20th April: Kreston Reeves commits to hybrid working