Understanding hybrid work collection (Part 1 of 5)
What do you know about hybrid work?
Most of us know that hybrid work means that teams have a mix of in-person and remote workers. But there are different types of hybrid teams.
• All team members work from the office a few days a week and remotely a few days a week.
• Some team members work from the office full-time, others float between the office and home.
• Some team members work full-time from the office, others are full-time remote workers.
However you arrange it, a hybrid team is one that has a mix of in-office and remote employees. That seems to be about all anyone can agree on, though.
Some people believe remote work is ineffective and all employees should be in the office. Some argue that remote employees can be just as productive as their on-site peers. Others think that there’s no good way to accommodate everyone.
Let’s look at a few of the common myths and concerns about hybrid work and focus on the facts.
✔️ Fact: Prior to the pandemic, we already had the tools we needed for hybrid work in many cases (e.g., Zoom, Docs, SharePoint, etc.). We now just have to learn to use them to their full potential.
Watch this pre-pandemic video about managing remote employees. Notice how many of the concerns raised in this video from 2018 are the same concerns we’re talking about today.
📺 Watch this (2:35)
⏱️ (0:01) IBM began allowing employees to work remotely as early as 1979.
⏱️ (0:20) By 2009, nearly 40% of their 386,000 employees worked remotely.
⏱️ (0:55) According to Gallup, remote workers put in more hours and are more productive than non-remote workers.
⏱️ (1:12) An HBR study showed that remote workers didn’t feel like their in-person peers treated them equally or fought for their priorities.
⏱️ (1:40) The challenge isn’t with remote work, but rather how we manage remote workers.
⏱️ (2:17) Have trust and confidence in your remote workers. Just being in the office doesn’t mean an employee is being more productive.
The concept of hybrid work isn’t new. Nowadays, we simply have a larger number of businesses that are trying hybrid for the first time.
Thankfully, we already have years of experience to help guide our way forward.
✔️ Fact: Teams that see a decrease in productivity need to learn new ways of working together.
Many hybrid attempts fail because managers treat their hybrid teams like they would a fully on-site team. They expect their employees to be at their computers for 8 hours per day, regardless of what they’re doing, and they fail to think of new ways to build company culture.
After seeing things aren’t working, a lot of people throw up their hands in defeat and decide their team just isn’t a good fit for hybrid work.
☝️ But there’s some good news. We’re allowed to be wrong.
“The goal is not perfection, but finding better ways of being wrong, and especially being less wrong than your competitors. Everyone will make mistakes, so it’s about learning faster than others.”
TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC, ENTREPRENEUR
When we switch from co-located to hybrid work, we reset our team’s norms. If we don’t figure out new ways of working, we’ll be stuck in a productivity nightmare.
Consider Bruce Tuckman’s stages of team building: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
Most teams that switch to hybrid are back in the Forming stage. They have to reset their team norms and practices.
After a team forms, there’s a period of Storming — when everyone learns how to work together. We want to minimize the time we spend in this phase because it’s the least productive.
Establishing processes for hybrid work can help.
The goal is to make it to the Performing stage. Hybrid teams can get there, but only if we’re thoughtful about making it work.
GIF by @dekalash
✔️ Fact: For every story about employees who abuse remote policies, there’s another story about employees who work better remotely. Our biases often skew which stories we pay the most attention to.
In the next article, we’ll take a closer look at the productivity fallacy.
✔️ Fact: While this can be the case, it doesn’t have to be. There’s a real issue called “proximity bias”, and just like other biases, we can learn to stop ours in their tracks. We’ll take a closer look at proximity bias in a later article.
✔️ Fact: We need to re-think our definitions of engagement and culture. Remote employees have just as much capacity for these as anyone, but they may look different than you’re used to. In future pathways, we’ll take a look at some solutions.
Hybrid work has been around for a long time. We’re still struggling with many aspects of it. But when we focus on the facts, rather than the myths, we can start getting hybrid right.
What’s one hybrid myth you’ve seen busted lately? Are there any aspects of hybrid work you’re still unsure about?
See how you can scale culture change within your organization
More from this collection:
Fact or fiction? (hybrid work quiz)
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