“My role involves working cross-functionally and collaborating with global offices. This means my working hours need to adapt to different time zones. The flexibility that hybrid work offers has empowered me to maximize efficiency and responsiveness. I don’t lose time on commute; I can schedule a workout instead or catch up on sleep and be available for late-night meetings. Hybrid culture allows me to exercise a high level of autonomy because it puts the focus on what is being delivered versus how it is being delivered.”
“My role is extremely collaborative and is perhaps easier to execute in person, but at the moment, my mother’s health needs my attention. Working remotely allows me to be more present for her and fulfill my responsibilities. To compensate for the lack of face time, I make it a point to call people outside of scheduled meetings, perhaps via a video call, and participate in community calls. I feel that nothing can replace in-person meetings, but these interactions reduce the fatigue from constant digital communication.”
Hybrid work puts the spotlight on agility
“My role involves thinking, ideating, researching, and writing, which works best when I am left undisturbed. To be honest, I have always found an office environment loud, chaotic, and distracting. I remember I would always work with my headphones on to tune out the noise, so I prefer to work from home. Also, if I am slightly unwell, I can take an hour off to rest versus taking an entire day off, so I am more productive in a sense.”
Companies must think systematically about what works best and refine hybrid policies
According to insight published by McKinsey, although top executives confirmed that their organizations were definitely adopting hybrid work for roles that aren’t essential to perform on-site, two-third of the companies lacked a detailed plan for handling hybrid work, and this is going to be the main challenge going forward. Remote work has enabled us to expand and dig deeper into geographies to access talent that was earlier out of our reach. But attracting talent is only the beginning. Retaining talent requires an ongoing effort, and hybrid working presents equal parts opportunities and challenges.
“I work both as a team manager and an independent contributor. As a manager, I prefer in-person meetings because it translates to better connection and engagement as a team. It’s simpler to check project statuses and divert resources where required when everyone is under the same roof. You cannot match that level of synchronicity remotely. However, as an independent designer, I prefer to stay at home because it’s easier to focus on tasks, and I can completely do away with wasting five hours of commute.”
A commitment to hybrid is a commitment to build a more human-centered organization. We cannot overlook trends that the 2022 LinkedIn’s Glint Wellbeing report pointed toward, stating that employees at remote-friendly organizations were 32 percent more likely to struggle with work-life balance compared to their peers at other organizations. The fatigue of remote work five days a week is very real; we have all experienced that, so we must reshape the way we work foundationally so that we are participants in the well-being of our teams. For instance, can organizations that don’t have full occupancy in their headquarters convert some of the real estate for people who work remotely to travel and stay on premises seamlessly and collaborate in person as they need? Or can necessary allowances be built into compensation structures so that integrating hybrid becomes more synergistic? There isn’t a clear answer at the moment, and there isn’t going to be a single solution either because the demands of every business and every function within those businesses are not interchangeable. So, the model is going to be unique and ever-evolving. But one thing is for certain – companies that are more focused on delivering the right employee experience will have a competitive advantage; those that fail will lose out on talent.