What is unique about hybrid working
Some of the participants in our hybrid working workshops have said to us in effect “We know how to work face to face, after the last couple of years we now know how to work remotely, surely hybrid is just putting the two together? How hard can it be?”
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. Running a face-to-face meeting is often challenging – before COVID half of people rated their meetings as poor. Running a virtual meeting requires different skills but running a meeting where some people are face to face and others are remote is a real challenge.
We have all probably still got things to learn about traditional face to face working and about remote working.
People who are new to remote working in the two years aren’t likely to have mastered all of the skills needed to run effective and inclusive virtual meetings, perform effective virtual performance conversations, harness creativity when working remotely, being visible and working remotely. You can see the skill modules we’ve developed over the last 27 years in our virtual working learning path.
However, it is a fair question to ask what is uniquely hybrid. Those topics that you won’t experience in working either fully remote or fully face to face.
Here are some of the challenges we’re working on with our clients that are unique to the hybrid working pattern.
- how do we equalise the participant experience and engagement between in the room and remote participants in hybrid meetings and collaboration?
- how do we schedule the pattern of work and decide what work we should do in the office and what work we should do at home?
- what does leadership look like in a hybrid world? For example proximity bias. If everyone is in the office, or if everyone works remotely, then this levels the playing field and means that proximity bias shouldn’t be a major challenge. Once some people are physically present and others are out of the office, we do risk overvaluing the work and the people we can see and under valuing the work and the people we don’t
- the exercise of soft skills. there is a good chance that in future the exercise of nearly all soft skills from teamwork to communication, presenting, selling etc will be done in an environment where some people are present, and others are joining virtually. This will change the way we train and exercise all of these skills
So yes, hybrid is different and the full consequences won’t become visible until a significant number of people return to the office. If you need to get your people prepared for the conversation around work flexibility or the skills they will need in a hybrid future, check out our hybrid working skills learning path.
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