With many companies set to welcome people back to the office this September, we are all wondering how this transition to a hybrid work environment will play out. Will it be better long-term? Will it ease people’s anxieties and give them the flexibility they want? Or will it pave the way for an entirely different approach to work – one that doesn’t have a set office location in it at all? There’s no way to predict how this experiment will go. It’s especially uncertain when you consider that our client Fuze found that 52% of UK respondents believe they’re more productive than they were before the pandemic in their recent Flex survey. Will we essentially erase this by bringing people back to the office?
That said, people have worked longer hours and the lines between life and work have blurred considerably during the pandemic. Burnout has been a real issue along with mental health challenges. The truth is these concerns could become even more pronounced in the months to come.
Taking a hardline approach to making people come into the office for a set number of days and/or making them jump through hoops to be granted permission to work from home could create animosity amongst employees and lead to disengagement. We only need to look at how tech giants like Google and Apple have faced backlash for their remote work policies to see how important it is to keep things flexible (read more about our thoughts on flexibility in our blog: The Future is Flexible).
So, how do we find the balance between some in-person collaboration and the growing reality that work can be done anywhere, anytime? To be in the office or not to be is the choice employees need. This is an opportunity for companies across every industry to reimagine the workplace. Our hope is that a hybrid approach to working can truly be the best of both worlds. It can support creative thinking, build, and foster connections whilst engendering more trust amongst team members and giving all of us the flexibility we need to live our best lives. The world has changed. We can’t expect to snap back to the way it was before the pandemic. Hybrid can be a bridge, but it can only work if employees are given the freedom and autonomy to use good judgement when it comes to where they work and when.
Are you embracing hybrid working? If you need help communicating your plans to employees and customers, we’d love to help.
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