The future is hybrid, but it needs to help solve seven challenges
As we approach 2022, the general consensus seems to be that the future world of work is hybrid, and the blend of home and office working will continue. But for hybrid to become not just negotiated and accepted but actively adopted and championed there are seven key challenges that need to be solved.
- A positive culture needs to be created in the absence of physical proximity. As employers look for ways to drive inclusion amidst hybrid work models, connection will become a critical measure of workforce culture.
- Productivity needs to be greater in hybrid than in person environments. Productivity in the UK lagged behind well before the pandemic. If hybrid working in conjunction with agile work practices is part of the solution to increasing productivity it will be actively championed by leaders.
- Trust between employer and employee needs to be created and maintained. When there is mutual trust between employee and employer, there is a basis of psychological safety formed which you need to innovate and grow.
- It needs to actively support the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DE&I) agenda. Over the past year, we have seen many organisations return to the issue of DE&I with a renewed focus. But the actions they are taking are still feel very timid – limited in scope, ambition, and speed to create impact.
- Perception needs to shift that visibility is not a measure of talent or ambition. The visibility measure needs to be replaced by an outcome/impact measure so getting passed over for promotion if not in the office does not become the norm.
- Wellbeing has to be front and centre. Remote working through the pandemic has given employees a greater understanding and concern for their own and their teams wellbeing. Solving the wellbeing challenge involves looking at work patterns and structures – do people need to spend so much time in meetings? Are they empowered to work when they are most productive?
- Purpose will need a renewed focus. Employees want companies to be more human and to have a greater purpose that speaks to connection and support. It’s now time to re-examine your employee value proposition and make sure it’s as compelling and differentiating as possible and that you are living up to your purpose.
Based in London and with over 24 years’ global experience, Karen Thomas-Bland is often cited as one of the top business transformation and M&A integration consultants and coaches in the world. She is a trusted advisor to boards, executive teams and investors, having led complex, enterprise-wide turnarounds and integrations to $105bn turnover. She writes for many publications including The Times, FT, Association of MBAs and Management Today.