HYBRID WORKING: Thoughts for Leaders

It was a year ago that I started researching Hybrid working having identified it as the most likely model of working post pandemic.

Over that time I’ve attended many conferences and seminars on the topic (both here and in the US).

I’ve also spoken to many directors/team leaders from huge global corporates to small local north east businesses, from those who don’t yet have it on their radar to those who are advanced in the journey.

 

Below are the key themes that have become apparent:

1. Be wary of people trying to sell you a guaranteed solution.

Everyone broadly agrees Hybrid will be the working model going forward.  Everyone also agrees it will bring unique challenges.  But no-one (and I mean no-one – not even the big businesses, the big consultants or the tech companies (or Vibrant Thinking)) has all the answers on how to do it successfully.

2. Be prepared to have open dialogue where leaders may not know all the answers.

For those businesses further along the path one of their key learnings has been the importance of open and frequent communication lines within the company.

  • Leaders have been much more accessible than perhaps in the past, hosting frequent Q&As with the organisation giving not only an opportunity to share latest thinking but also, and perhaps more importantly, for people on the ground to be able to highlight challenges they are facing that the leaders aren’t necessarily aware.

3. Get comfortable with trial and error.

A consistent message from everyone is that the only way to learn what works is to try it and adapt as you learn.

  • The hybrid model is going to differ from organisation to organisation depending on their needs – so it’s even more important to start learning what works for your organisation now.

4. Different Leadership traits will become more important.

In the new world of hybrid working leaders will be valued for their:

A. Ability to build mutual trust and give ownership to their                  teams rather than relying on top down hierarchical                            management.

B. Empathy

C. Clear communication

D. Acknowledgement that they don’t have the answer for                everything

5. This is a huge opportunity to change the way we work for the better.

 One of my favourite quotes is from an Adecco study:

“Arguably, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world of work more radically than any other single event in our working lifetime.”

  • It may not have been a change we wanted and it may feel painful but it does give us the opportunity to strip back the layers of process that have evolved over the years and simplify, giving your employees room to breathe, own their productivity and shine.

 

And as a final word, I have a plea. Please work on how your company will adapt to hybrid working and what works and then look for a tech solution to support that. Please don’t force your way of working to fit round a tech solution!