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Hybrid work, yes but its hard to…

As we run hundreds of hybrid workshops around the world with organisations preparing for the return to the office, there is nearly always a small subset of participants who raise the “yes but…” objections.

  • Yes, but it will be harder to on-board and train new people
  • Yes, but people who are not visible will not get promoted
  • Yes, but we need to maintain our corporate culture

These are all valid concerns and we do need to work through them, but the subtext for most of these objections is that the solution is to get everybody back into the office more often.

In most organisations the conversation has gone past that point, we are discussing how we will make this happen not whether we will.

Most of our clients accept that flexibility will be a major factor in attracting and retaining talent in the future.

HR managers are telling us that one of the first questions people ask in job interviews is now about your flexible working policy.

Those unable or unwilling to offer flexibility are seeing people leave. Studies are showing that people will sacrifice a significant element of salary in return for more flexibility.

In the long term the talent market will determine what works. Expect to see this first in industries and functions where skills are transferable and much of the work can be done anywhere – think IT in particular.

Organisations are seeing other benefits in productivity, cost, and engagement. Flexibility is wildly popular with individual employees.

However, the challenges remain. The conversation needs to switch from “yes but” to working through how we will overcome these challenges in a hybrid environment.

There are fully remote organisations who already successfully resolve these challenges. In a hybrid world we still have the opportunity of investing our more limited face-to-face time in some of these critical areas. You don’t need to spend two or three days in the office every week to get trained, be visible and build culture.

With more limited face-to-face time we will probably have to change the way we do some of these things. we will have to be more intentional about staying visible when working more remotely, culture will have to be taught, not only caught.

Organisations that train people entirely by sitting next to experienced people may have to rethink their processes.

If you need to get this conversation going and move from “yes but” to “how to”, take a look at our hybrid working workshops.

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