What We're Gaining with Hybrid Work
There’s a lot of focus on what we’re losing with hybrid work – what are we gaining?
Excellent question. Particularly, there have been news articles citing CEO advocating for employees to return to office. Some recent research indicates the remote or hybrid workers in some sectors may not be as productive or collaborative compared to in-person work, and experience meeting fatigue.
Are there advantages—things to be gained? Yes. In the current job climate, hybrid and remote work allow for two advantages: (1) attracting and retaining employees who decided not to work in-office full time, making the organization more competitive and potentially more likely to retain key employees; (2) attracting applicants from a wider geographic region than would previously be feasible.
In addition, some employees (such as people of color, introverts, parents who have primary responsibility for the children) appreciate working remotely and view it as having better talent development opportunities, which in turn can decrease attrition. Another study found that there was no different in performance between in-office employees and those working from home 2 days/week, but that hybrid employees were less likely to quit.
In turn, these advantages can make the organization more diverse and lead to better team solutions and performance—as long as the diversity comes with inclusion.
The fundamental challenge, I think, is that many organizations haven’t figured out their winning strategy of how to do remote or hybrid well:
how to train leaders and managers to lead and manage hybrid and remote teams for the long haul
how to evaluate employees’ performance (and not rely on butt-in-seat as a guide)
how to use various tools and a judicious use of in-person days or retreats to increase the quality of collaboration, as needed
how to increase a sense of belonging and engagement.
We are in the early days of more deeply understanding how to do remote and hybrid well for different types of employees and for different types of work. But for many people, working in person before COVID wasn’t working so well. So when making a judgement about hybrid or remote work, it depends on what you’re comparing it to, and for whom.
Disclaimer: This question and response is provided for informational purposes only, and you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of this content. It is strongly recommended that you immediately seek legal or other professional advice if you believe you are experiencing a problem requiring professional assistance. Robin Rosenberg and Live in Their World, Inc. disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on Dear Robin content.