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  • Writer's pictureRobin Rosenberg

Shybrid Challenges

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

Yes, you read that correctly. Shybrid, not hybrid. Shybrid is a term coined by Paul McKinlay, VP of communications and remote working at Vista.

What’s Shybrid?

McKinlay referred to shybrid as,

“…the failure of companies to accept that they have, in many cases, lost the right to demand in-person attendance at a piece of real estate on any kind of regular basis. It's about continually pushing back return dates without declaring on a future model and leaving people in this limbo.”

Why Might Organizations Want You Back in the Office?

As I noted in a Dear Robin column, there are many reasons why organizations might want to have employees back in the office at least part time, such as

  • the probability of greater engagement and sense of belonging among employees,

  • more (or different) types of innovation because of serendipitous meetings at the coffee machine or the synergy of in-person collaborations

  • better onboarding, acculturation, and mentoring of new employees,

  • easier transmission of organizational culture.

  • Seat-in-butt time seen by some bosses as proxy for performance, engagement, dedication, or some other important variable (even though it isn’t true!)

After almost two years of remote work, though, we’ve seen that, for many organizations, the sky hasn’t fallen. Typically, employees worked harder and more than they did in office. It’s not clear what the business case is for in-office work when returning to the office costs employees in commuting time, commuting expense, and a loss of flexibility.

Organizations: Make Your Case for BTO

Does your organization really need to have employees back in the office at least some of the time? Organizations should be able to make their case about why they’re asking—what they expect will be different than fully remote working and why it is superior. Leaders can then be more persuasive about BTO and lay out their case about why it’s. For instance, it can be helpful to explain:

  • what you hope will be better if people are in the office at least some of the time (for instance, collaboration, mentoring, increased engagement, better work environment for some people),

  • how the organization will assess whether BTO is, in fact, better for the organization,

  • how you understand the hardship—of time and of money, among others—you are asking employees to incur by coming to the office. Underscore what you’re hoping they will get in return.

Some people will be happy to go back to an office at least some of the time; for others it will be a significant loss of autonomy, flexibility, time and money. Make sure everyone is aware of why you want people in the office, or not.


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