Employee Engagement, Employee Wellbeing | Article

What People Leaders have Learned about Hybrid Work

The past few years have been trial and error for many people and organizations when it comes to hybrid work. So what have we learned so far?

Hybrid. The word used to be largely associated with cars. But now when we hear it, we often think about the popular way to work. While many workers have returned to the office, they likely go in a lot less than they used to. We can see this reflected in the total number of workplace visits which is currently 80% of what it was 3 years ago.

This points to an influx in hybrid employees – people partially working in the office and partially working remotely. A lot has been learned about people and hybrid work ever since the pandemic made us realize its potential. We’ll break down a couple conclusions that people leaders have come to thus far.

Understanding different purposes

It’s good to allow people the flexibility to choose their work location based on daily tasks. One type of work might be better accomplished in person while another might be easier remote. Maral Kazanjian (Chief People Officer) from Moody’s has adopted this type of mindset.

Her employees make intentional decisions about where and how they operate as individuals and in groups. They base these decisions on the type of work needed and what is required to do it. They also see the office as a tool that strengthens purposeful connections when work warrants it.

Feeling connected and supported

ButterflyMX’s Lucy Lemons (Chief People Officer) believes it’s crucial employees feel like they are connected to their teams and supported. They are open-minded regarding the needs of individuals and how they work since they know everyone is different. Perhaps this is one of the reasons ButterflyMX’s workforce is distributed and mostly remote. This means they have to be even more intentional with employees.

They offer virtual office hours with their leadership team on a regular basis. Remote employees can get quick answers to questions, build connections, and feel included. A majority of their people leaders have regular check-ins with team members – often daily! It’s how they build trust, connection, and collaboration.

No mandates

Many companies have set or considered setting policies regarding hybrid work. One example might be telling employees they have to work in person 3 days per week. Simon Phillips (Regional Principal and Head of Business Partnering) from Unispace has not found this helpful. At their Boston location, they encourage team members who live near a studio to come together 2-3 times a week. But it is not a formal requirement.

When in-person meetings are necessary, team members can come in for the meeting itself but are not expected to stay for the entire day. They know their people have to balance many priorities in their lives. That’s why they avoid setting strict policies that interfere with people’s personal lives.

As you’ve heard over and over: Hybrid work is here to stay. It will likely continue to morph as the desires and needs of employees shift. Many to these key learnings will still apply, but leaders will continue learning along the way. As long as you continue engaging and listening to your people, you’ll know which direction you need to go in!