The Hybrid Future of Work – Dispelling Myths That Prevent Progress

Hybrid work models were increasing before the pandemic but they became a necessity in 2020. Companies uncertain about the practice often discovered hybrid models worked better than expected.

As pandemic conditions continue to ease, companies are beginning to discuss their return to office plans. But many companies are convinced the future of work should include some degree of hybrid work.   

Studies show employers are learning productivity may be increased by incorporating remote work. A prominent survey done by PWC noted that 83% of employers acknowledged the success of hybrid work, as opposed to 73% in 2020.

Effective leadership and coaching can support the future of work – including hybrid work models. HR departments can support hybrid work by suggesting services that help both C-suite members, managers and remote workers to fulfill their roles effectively. 

A Forbes post notes that businesses can thrive in the emerging era of hybrid work, by taking a proactive approach. 

Still, some employers remain hesitant to adopt hybrid work on a regular basis. This hesitancy is based on traditional beliefs which may not be relevant. A recent Gartner publication detailed seven misconceptions surrounding the adoption of hybrid work models.

Seven Myths Concerning Hybrid Work

Consideration of the concepts posed by Gartner is the first step toward a positive hybrid work setup which will result in employee engagement and increased profits. Here, we paraphrase and address these thoughts, and include suggestions for supporting the success of hybrid work setups.

Myth #1: Existing remote work strategies will be suitable for a hybrid work program.

New ways of doing things require fresh approaches. Two-way communication is essential between hybrid workers and employers. 

Managers must be clear about objectives and expectations regarding projects assigned to staff members working from home. They must also listen to employee concerns and requests for tools essential to the success of hybrid work.

Once guidelines and expectations have been put in place and employee needs met, employers must trust their remote workers. 

Myth #2: Employees are less productive outside the office.

Many employers are finding the opposite is the case. Many employees working from home go above and beyond basic job requirements. 

Employers must make certain their hybrid workers have the tools they need to succeed. Well-prepared remote workers offer a higher level of discretionary effort, resulting in a stronger contribution to the enterprise.

Seventy percent of businesses offering hybrid work options allow employees to take work equipment home. New hardware was supplied by 58%. Providing the tools needed for remote workers to succeed is well worth the expenditure.

Myth # 3: Employers must monitor and measure what employees are doing.

Actually, employees often thrive when trusted to manage their own time and manner of working. Productivity is difficult to quantify. A better picture of worker effectiveness can be gained by tracking workforce and business outcomes.

It doesn’t matter how an employee met a goal if it was reached within the required timeframe and the job was well done. Working in pajamas at three am is fine (though, not recommended) if the task is an independent project that doesn’t involve contact with other employees or the public.  

Myth #4: Many employers believe their company's jobs simply cannot be accomplished remotely.

Every role must be evaluated on an individual basis. Some jobs truly must be performed at the business headquarters. Others could be accomplished remotely part of the time, while some could become fully remote. 

Most medium to large organizations could offer hybrid work for a number of positions.

Myth #5: In person contact is imperative to sustain company culture.

Company culture shouldn’t be static. In a resilient organization, it is ever-evolving. Of course, some foundations of company culture shouldn’t change, like commitment to stellar service. But others must be adjusted, on a routine basis.

Be creative. Consider what values and norms are most important. Encourage behaviors that promote them. Hold virtual meetings that include diverse members of your team. Familiarize employees with formal and informal networks. 

Keeping an open mind when adjusting expectations and planning ways to keep employees on the same page is important. View hybrid work as an opportunity for your company to embrace the future rather than considering change a risk.

Leadership coaching today is all about adapting to change. It should focus upon aligning with classic aspects of company culture while helping your team become agile, confident, able to adjust to ever evolving business conditions. 

Myth #6: Hybrid workforce models hurt DEI strategy.

Diversity, equity and inclusion don’t suffer due to hybrid working conditions. In fact, having a flexible structure can allow you to diversify your talent pool. Whether everyone returns to the office or a hybrid work model is followed, DEI strategy can be implemented.

Making certain all employees know your policies and practices regarding DEI is of unquestionable importance, hybrid work model or not. Interactions must be fair and equitable in every way, for everyone. No question. 

Listen with sincerity, to each employee, whether in a virtual group meeting or a private, in person consultation. Communicating with everyone regarding their concerns about staff relations and inclusion are essential practices no matter what the working conditions.

Surveys show employees who enjoy flexible work options are more likely to act authentically. Hybrid work can support DEI strategy and improved engagement and performance. 

Myth #7: A hybrid workplace model creates duplication of infrastructure.

IT infrastructure to support a hybrid workforce isn’t wasteful. Expansion is a personalized process designed to support the needs of a reorganized workforce. Cloud services available today make it simple to provide services to employees working from multiple locations.

Resilient firms have always analyzed IT infrastructure and made ongoing adjustments to suit changing needs. Providing whatever it takes to help each staff member contribute to overall profitability, shouldn’t be considered redundancy. 

Meeting the needs of a diverse workforce is essential. Installing the right types of IT devices to facilitate speed and agility and ensuring they are in compliance with each remote worker’s local requirements is a proactive process that supports success. 

Today’s cloud based services make providing software to multiple locations more efficient and less expensive. Programs and services administered from a central source eliminate the need for an extensive network of servers and separately installed software. Shifts can be made easily in response to a changing workforce. Services can be provided to many staff members without the need for duplicate infrastructure.

Conclusion

Today’s IT capabilities offer the means to provide consistent and accurate service to a hybrid workforce. But hybrid models require new ways of thinking, reconsideration of long-held beliefs about how people work best.

New strategies can support the maintenance of a productive hybrid workforce whose members remain connected and supportive of organizational goals despite working from diverse locations. 

The future of work for most companies includes a focus on the expansion of hybrid work. Since a significant number of workers won’t return to the office, C-suite conferences should focus on effective leadership in this new environment. 

HR departments can help executives and managers cultivate the type of confident, pro-active, agile leadership needed to support an increasingly hybrid workforce by arranging for leadership coaching sessions. 

For assistance as your company transitions to hybrid work on a regular basis, contact us

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