Navigating Hybrid Working
As the world and the economy are getting better in the pandemic recently, many companies faced with a realization that their working arrangement will never be the same. After two years of working remotely, there is a big chance that they’re not going to return to the office 100%. Some of their employee favors working remotely with no more time wasted for commuting, and more time can be spent for other productive activities. But some dislike working remotely because it can be isolating and mentally challenging.
A recent Survey from Gallup in 2022 stated that most employee preferring a more a flexible working arrangement, with 59% preferring hybrid model. So more and more companies are now looking for a flexible or hybrid arrangement where they can accommodate both remote and office-based working arrangement.
Now comes the important question, how can we implement a good Hybrid Working Arrangement? What are the things to consider?
Is hybrid working for everyone in the company?
There are multiple jobs and responsibilities in a company with different characteristics and ways that drive their performance. To determine how the working arrangement will work for the whole office, an article form Harvard Business Review about How To Do Hybrid Right has a great explanation.
First, we can see from Job type point of view. Most importantly what are the biggest drive to their performance, or what are the biggest effort that drives their performance according to what the employee doing in their respective job. For example, is the job focuses on innovative thinking that requires a lot of brainstorming or discussion with multiple people? Or is the job requiring someone to have more time to focus on analytical aspects at one time, and on another time they need to discuss the analysis result?
Second, we can see form the work-flow point of view. We have to see how a certain job is done. For example, does it require a lot of coordination with other team in the company? Such as Project Manager. Or does in require a hands-on approach to the customer? Such as Sales Representative.
Considering two explanations above, there are two points that we can do to support the new working arrangement:
First, the arrangement better closely discussed on a team level. Assuming everyone in a team will have one or similar focus and/or workflow, it will be easier for them to determine their working arrangement. On a company level, we can develop a Hybrid Working policy to ensure fairness for all employees. For example, we can state that in a week an employee should have at least 2 working days in the office, and each team can decide which day they want to work from the office. Hence, all employees should have the same working from office day.
Second, is to significantly increase the utilization of technology or any other digital tools to support hybrid working. With the presence of these tools, it will decrease the difficulty of communicating and coordinating.
What’s in it for the company?
As stated in Gallup Survey above, with more employee favoring Hybrid Working, company can attract more talent. This will also benefit company’s employer branding which adapts a flexible working culture. On the other hand, employee will have more sense of control in their work-life balance, because they now have more time to spend at home. This will have effect on their well-being and also happiness in general, an in turn, will decrease the turnover rate in the company.
How can we sustain Company Culture?
Re-thinking and re-designing Employee Experience can be the step to sustain company culture in a Hybrid working space. Now that we are no longer have face-to-face on boarding, or no longer have the usual townhall meeting in the common area, we have to think how to deliver those experiences in a different way but with similar impact.
One of the key to sustain culture is that how company make an intentional and conscious effort to communicate their values, and also to listen to employee’s need. For example, during the remote-working phase, IBM has a work-from home pledge with essence to support each other. Here’s some of the Pledge written by their Chairman and CEO, Arvind Krishna; I pledge to be Family sensitive, I pledge to support Flexibility for personal needs, and I Pledge to be Kind.
A lot of company also migrating their activities online, but without losing a direct touch. For example, some company will held a birthday or team dinner online, but the company will send meal or even costumes to their employee, so that they can enjoy it together online.
To sum: Working in a hybrid arrangement will require a lot of re-thinking and re-shaping. This will push us to be even more open to possibilities, even if it’s something that we have never consider before. Management need to support the changes that will happen, and always be considerate of employee needs.
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