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The Hybrid Work Model, Otherwise Known as ‘The Great Shuffle’

Terry Farber Eliasaf | Nov. 16, 2022

Hybrid work is here to stay, but it’s far from flawless in its present state. This week, we’re delving into the pros and cons of sticking to a hybrid model, and what your leadership needs to know to make the most of this flexible approach. Read our blog post here >>

Over the past couple of years, the working world has experienced what is currently being called “The Great Shuffle.” Namely, businesses that once operated entirely or nearly completely from the office were suddenly faced with Covid-19 stay-at-home orders that resulted, first, in a highly immediate and restrictive remote work model, and later, led to a shift to the hybrid work model we’re hearing so much about today.

This shift was dramatic, to say the least, and was experienced differently by employers and employees, who found themselves navigating new challenges linked to remote work and the juggling of days working from home, with days working from the office. To date, even though most of the working world has become accustomed to this “new normal,” many employees, managers, and executives continue to find themselves focusing on hybrid scheduling and work arrangements, instead of on those business goals and activities that truly matter. But these logistics and technicalities are distracting.

At Hunter, we believe that it’s time to shift gears and start spending your precious energy and resources on more mission-critical issues, such as searching for new talents and developing your leadership to help your organization shuffle out of the current financial recession, navigate increasing inflation rates, and build successful strategies for various possible future directions your business can take.

Here’s what you need to know.

Hybrid work is here to stay

Today’s employees are keenly aware of both the ongoing talent shortage and the value they bring to the table, and they aren’t afraid to show it. Despite experiencing initial difficulties adapting to remote work, workers across industries (wherever possible) have come to embrace and appreciate the hybrid work model, and now simply will not concede to working “the good old fashioned way.” 52 percent of Gen Z and Millennials are considering switching places of work this year, and 18% of all respondents to a Microsoft Work Trends Index survey quit their job in the past 12 months, citing mental health, well-being, work-life balance, and a need for flexibility as the main motivations behind their decisions.

Among the reasons employees favor hybrid work are fewer commutes, increased flexibility to get work done during one’s more productive hours, fewer co-worker distractions, and a better work-life balance.

Whether employers like it or not, there’s no going back; either they continue to allow hybrid work, or they run the risk of losing exceptional employees to competitors who will. Plus, when push comes to shove, employers can’t deny the fact that hybrid employees save them on real estate expenses (fewer employees on-site at once require smaller offices and less on-site equipment) and allow them to hire talent from across the globe.

But it doesn’t mean the model is without fault

Despite the advantages listed above, hybrid work isn’t failsafe. So, what’s the hitch?

First of all, it can be hard for employers to measure performance, when employees are scattered across multiple locations, and though studies show that performance increases when working from home, many employees continue to fear that time is being wasted on chores and idle activities, instead of being spent on the tasks of the day.

Second, when employees work a few days from home and a few days from the office, office days often become “catch-up” days, during which employees spend more time conversing with one another, and less time actually doing their work. This, while virtual meetings during work-from-home days often drag out longer than expected or intended, simply because employees are in need of some human interaction.

Third, it can be challenging for managers to keep track of who works from where and when, how the business’ money is being spent, and other key metrics, such as measurements of motivation and creativity.

All that being said, it may be easier to go completely remote or completely in-office, than to master this insane juggling act.

There’s a reason that, despite major pushes since the 1990s, hybrid work never really took force until now. There are just so many obstacles to overcome.

Getting hybrid work right requires a change in mindset

Adapting to a new normal is never easy. That said, those who embrace the new normal and lead their teams through shifts and changes are most likely to experience success in the long term.

Here, a change in mindset from “what should the work day look like” and “how do I secure control” to “what’s best for my business” and “how do I motivate my teams to perform their best” is key. Understanding employees’ needs and priorities, and enabling them to be fulfilled doesn’t have to come at the expense of continuing to promote your organization’s best interests.

If you’re struggling to balance your employees’ hybrid work expectations with your leadership’s activities, contact the Hunter team to set up a consultation. Our Executive Development team will help you bridge any remaining gaps.