Matrix Management / Virtual Teams

Why come into the office when nobody else is there

Why would you come into the office when nobody you need to speak to is there and you spend your day on virtual meetings before commuting home?

Most companies are now (in theory at least) operating some form of hybrid working pattern. At a policy level most seem to be choosing two or three days in the office and the rest of the week working remotely. In practise few organisations are actually insisting on this.

The majority seem to have given quite a lot of flexibility to individual teams and departments to come up with their own working patterns. The strong tendency is to work remotely at least Mondays and Fridays.

However, this doesn’t mean that everyone is in the office Tuesday to Thursday as many people are working remotely more often. Companies that insist on everyone being in the office on certain days are the exception.

We hear regularly from our participants in our hybrid working workshops that whilst they quite like going into the office from time to time, it seems pretty pointless because no one else is there when they do.

So it’s time to make some choices. Remote-only working does work, and many people prefer it. If we are not willing to be firmer about getting people back to the office then remote will be the default.

A decision not to confront this is a de facto decision to go remote. If you haven’t got a critical mass in the office then it will become less and less logical for people to return over time.

Hybrid will take some persuasion and discipline. There are some good reasons to get face to face like culture and relationship building (though they don’t need 2-3 days a week). If you really believe your business needs this then you need to act.

It feels to us though many organizations are drifting into new ways of working without making active choices.

Once we are clear on our choices we can align our structures, systems, culture and skills. If we say one thing but do another we may get the worst of both. What are your plans to resolve this in 2023?


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