As experts and thought leaders look at workplace trends for the next year (and beyond), two words keep popping up: hybrid work. In a survey by PwC, 55 percent of US employees said they would like to continue working remotely three days a week, which means employers will need to find the right balance between in-person and remote work to keep their team engaged and productive. Keep reading for expert insights on why the future of work is hybrid, and how organizations can get the most out of this new workplace structure.
Once more, with feeling: Hybrid work is the future
For everyone who worked remotely this past year, the benefits were immediately obvious, but so too were the drawbacks. With everyone working from home, people were able to cut out their commute and greatly improve productivity. On the other hand, being in the office gave people a dedicated work environment (clearly separated from their personal lives), and more opportunities to interact with colleagues in an organic way.
Ultimately, hybrid work represents a balanced approach that gives employees more flexibility, while also allowing for dedicated collaboration days in the office. Watch this Prezi video from Joe Martin, the CMO at CloudApp, for a breakdown of each type of work, and why hybrid work is the clear winner in the long run:
Don’t worry, employers — hybrid work benefits you, too
One of the takeaways from the PwC survey is that employers are still more hesitant than employees to remain partly remote. But Natalia Walters, the Future of Work Lead at Fluxx, warns that having a “status quo bias” and risk averse mentality will be detrimental to a company’s success. Her team’s research found that half of UK workers say they would take a pay cut for greater flexibility, and that even a half-remote work week can lead to $11,000 worth of productivity gains per employee, per year.
What’s more, in-person meetings often result in inefficiency, and these can cost employers 34 percent of an employee’s salary in lost time. With a hybrid work model, strong asynchronous communication can replace unnecessary meetings and lead to better productivity. Learn more about the benefits of hybrid work in Natalia’s video:
Easy ways to make hybrid work…work
Even if everyone is on board with hybrid work, it can be tough to know where to start — after all, this is uncharted territory for many organizations. Fortunately, Cynthia Watson, the CEO of consulting firm Virtira, has some easy tips you can implement. In a study that Virtira conducted, they found that 63 percent of remote workers reported more meetings than before. That’s because meetings have become a substitute for impromptu chats, but this only results in video conference fatigue.
Cynthia recommends taking a step back and reassessing your meetings. Are there people who don’t need to be at certain meetings? Is there a clear agenda for each meeting? Are you using the right virtual presentation tools? Do you use video calls for team engagement and connection, or are they only used for work-related tasks?
By reframing the way you approach virtual meetings and investing in the right collaboration tools (with the proper training for each), you can ensure that your team is working seamlessly in a hybrid environment. Get even more tips by watching her Prezi video:
Leaders need to walk the walk
The shift to hybrid work means many aspects of work life will change. This includes relying on spaces not designed for work, greater isolation among employees, different distractions and priorities at home, and an increased reliance on technology. At the same time, some things still remain the same — good work needs to be done, and strong collaboration will be key to a hybrid workplace.
Hybrid work expert and speaker Kevin Eikenberry explains that company leaders will need to step up and help their employees navigate these changes and keep morale and productivity high. Leaders should set clear expectations around communication frequency and tool usage, and should also differentiate between accomplishments (i.e., tasks that align to broader company goals) and meaningless activity metrics (i.e., how many hours you’re in front of a computer).
He also stresses the importance of the “4 Cs”: collaboration, connection, communication, and culture. Above all, leaders should be role models — they must “be the change” by modeling a positive attitude, following the same processes and using the same tools as everyone else, and learning alongside their employees. Watch his video for more:
It’s easy to think of the “future of work” as something vague you can worry about down the line, but the fact is you should be thinking about how to adapt now, especially since both current and potential employees will be looking closely at hybrid work policies.
Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 and co-author of Remote Work, highlights the next steps everyone should be considering sooner rather than later. With hybrid work, companies should focus on putting everyone on the same playing field, which means if one person is signing in to a meeting virtually, then everyone else should, too.
Additionally, the most successful teams will be able to move information faster, either by involving more people early on in strategy and planning meetings, or documenting everything for asynchronous updates. Find out more about the future of work in Chris’s video:
As companies move to hybrid work, it’s important for teams to use tools like Prezi Video to keep everyone connected and engaged. Try creating your own virtual presentation using the same video template that the experts and thought leaders used in this post, and share it with your team in the hybrid workplace.