There are a lot of considerations when trying to get hybrid right, it isn’t as simple as just ‘going hybrid.’
One of the pitfalls of hybrid working is that companies proclaiming to have moved to hybrid working, have not implemented the right infrastructure for it to work effectively. This includes things such as IT, leadership, working environment and cultural buy-in from staff. While there is a definition of what hybrid working is, there is still an acceptance of it being a fluid concept with moveable boundaries. This relates to how different sized businesses or companies within different sectors would seek to implement hybrid working while having variations on headcount and work demands. So while there is no one correct method of how to ‘do’ hybrid working, there are certain factors that can be considered to ensure a successful shift.
As with any workplace change, employee engagement is essential. Each employee is likely to have different requirements so a blanket change without consultation is likely to fail. When Spotify announced ‘My Work Mode’ in early 2021 in their company blog, their stance was pinned on giving staff the flexibility to work based on the demands of their own workloads.
“Our employees will be able to work full time from home, from the office, or a combination of the two. The exact mix of home and office work mode is a decision each employee and their manager make together.” Microsoft’s early stance on the hybrid model recognised the value of autonomy “that some employees are required to be onsite and some roles and businesses are better suited for working away from the worksite than others.” In Microsoft’s most recent shift, their Digital Workplace initiative “creates efficiency, increases productivity, enables accessibility, and empowers our entire organization.”
This type of investment into a digital-first environment is a landmark move but admittedly not one that would be so easily replicated by other companies. It will be common to see businesses develop and execute their own versions of hybrid to help transform their ways of working. Despite the different approaches, there is a requirement for the right level of trust and autonomy for the hybrid model to work. The companies that take this opportunity to invest in their people and build a human-centric environment will see the full benefits of hybrid working.