Hybrid work: new challenges to be met

N°303a – Synopsis (8p.) – Hybrid Management
Hybrid work: new challenges to be met
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Most companies are moving toward a hybrid work organization, combining on-site and home-based work. How to benefit from remote work while maintaining collective strength?

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated a trend that had already been noticeable for a few years: the rise of telework. It also allowed something that few companies would have dared attempt in regular times, an experiment with full-time remote work. The feedback to this experiment has been largely positive. Companies have succeeded in organizing themselves to function properly. A vast majority of employees have seen a visible increase in their individual productivity, and appreciate both the commuting time saved and the flexibility of working from home.

The flip side of this coin is an increasing weariness in a majority of employees. In April 2021, BCG’s article The How-To of Hybrid Work noted that 40% of workers described themselves as being significantly overloaded. Psychiatrists warned of a large increase in anxiety and depression disorders, as well as in cases of burn-out. This is in part attributable to the health crisis, but also to work organization. The logistical simplicity of exchanging remotely has led to the number of meetings more than doubling in comparison with the times before the health crisis. From an organizational point of view, “full remote” is not satisfactory either. Interpersonal links have loosened. Efficiency is certainly still high, but mostly on short-term operational projects. More complex projects, as well as emerging innovation requiring creativity and confronting ideas, have suffered. Globally, HR managers are warning of an erosion of the sense of belonging and of levels of trust between people. Yet these are precisely key ingredients for a company’s performance.

Everything indicates that the majority of companies are moving toward a hybrid work model. Various models are being experimented with. In some, part of the team comes to the office while another mostly works from home. More often, a given employee splits their week between working from the office and working from home. In every case, the challenge is to succeed in combining the advantages of remote work with the quality of interactions between team members required to maintain engagement, cohesion, and the capacity for innovation. This implies developing a new management model, in which line managers’ role is essential.

In this synopsis:
– Toward a generalization of hybrid work?
– Managing a hybrid team: five challenges to be met
– Hybrid work: how to plan your week?
– Five tips to conduct a hybrid meeting

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