In February, we hosted a webinar on the topic of Hybrid 2.0, with a focus on core trends such as the evolving relationship between employer and employee and the range of changes – from new habits to increases in personal autonomy and choice – that are influencing what people and organisations want and expect from work in 2022.
Now that many of us are used to hybrid working in one form or another, tensions are beginning to emerge. Two years of remote working have been hugely beneficial for some – but for others they have resulted in an always-on culture where wellbeing is routinely sacrificed in favour of performance. As we enter the Hybrid 2.0 phase, organisations must navigate this tension to ensure employees can work in a way that is sustainable for both them and the business.
While technology powered many businesses through the pandemic, it has also impacted many people’s ability to make human connections. It’s hard to gauge how connections are made in a remote context – we don’t have enough data – but we do know that people are able to develop productive and collaborative relationships without meeting face to face. As people’s assumptions and expectations change, organisations must work to understand as much as they can about how relationships are built and connections are made.
Hybrid working has given people greater autonomy over how, when and where they work. At the same time, it has reduced the amount of control employers have over their workforce. Striking the right balance between performance management and surveillance will be crucial over the coming months and years.
So, how do we navigate these tensions? During the webinar, Lynda Gratton shared some of her recent insights and led a lively online discussion – here are some of her key takeaways:
1. Build flexible, autonomous work. Align with the aspirations of employees who have reframed what they want from their careers.
2. Learn to trust. In the Hybrid 2.0 world, employees are more autonomous and less visible – which can put a strain on trust. It’s crucial to strike a balance between ensuring work is completed and trusting employees to fulfil responsibilities.
3. Create good jobs. The pandemic brought the chasm of inequality between people with careers that offer choice, autonomy and flexibility and those in jobs that offer little by way of progression, choice or support. Organisations need to focus on building jobs that soothe rather than exacerbate these tensions.
4. Support managers. Embracing the hybrid approach has put pressure on managers to take on coaching and mentoring responsibilities. Organisations must help them learn the new skills required to navigate these changes.
Most importantly of all, don’t feel you have to create your approach to hybrid working from scratch. Lynda’s advice is to learn from the successes – and failures – of first movers, making use of their insights to design a considered approach that will support your organisation’s performance and help you both retain and attract talent.