The future of many jobs will be hybrid, meaning part of the job will be done at the office, together with colleagues, part of it will be done wherever the employee feels best to do the job. Typically, the thinking part of the job, the part that requires (hyper-)focus, will be done at home while the brainstorming part will be done at the office.
At least, that seems to be the direction things are evolving.
In recent meetings and interviews, with clients and candidates, the topic ‘home working’ always pops up. It is clear that in the ongoing war for talent companies will need to have their answer ready. From the experience during the past year, it is clear that working-from-home works. To some extent. With the right technology, a lot is possible.
Yet, maybe, we shouldn’t be getting too carried away. It indeed seems like a match made in heaven; employees can choose freely where they work. Happy employees are often more motivated and deliver a better job. Everybody happy. Easy. Simple.
But is it really the holy grail? And if so, how do we really make it work? As always, the road to heaven is paved with opportunities, but the devil is in the details. And we should not forget about these details.
A company or team is simply more than the summation of the individual parts. Value is often created in collaboration, info-sharing, economies and the value of a group. If every individual does what best suites him or her then that might not just be the best thing for the team. On the one hand, research shows that companies find it more and more difficult to maintain connection with employees. Even more, the current character of ‘forced’ homework makes them worry about the wellbeing of their employees. The onboarding of new and young recruits is proving to be more difficult than ever before. Many employees simple do not have the right infrastructure at home to work full-time from home. On the other hand, research also indicates that trust between employer and employees has had a tremendous boost, companies have embraced telework and, of course, more and more employers are open to flexible working.
Today, it is not clear what individuals actually want. Studies show that some want to work at the office every day, some only want to come in once a week. Maybe surprisingly enough, young people seem to have a bigger need for time spend at the office as they seek team spirit and coaching. 3 days a week or 60% of the time at the office seems to be the way to go.
It makes sense to spend time reflecting on this.
Companies and staff will have to work out policies on how to deal with hybrid working. If not, they very likely will create a rise of tension between those who prefer to work from home and those who prefer to work at the office. All in all, a highly complex situation that needs to be managed to make it work. In a recent BCG study, it is argued that if leadership adopts some changes they are more likely to fully reap the benefits of what we have learned during the past period with forced homeworking. It involves things like really getting to know what people in the organization are doing day-to-day, being more present than ever before, making sure that what really matters is clear and understood, not only the long-term strategic goals but also in the now. Next to changes in leadership behavior, also changes in the office environment will be beneficial. As Thomas Quarticelli, in his article ‘The Post-COVID Workplace: What to Expect Now and in the Future‘, points out: offices will need to be less static and more flexible, there will be a need for private and collaborative spaces, we’ll need open, flexible and acoustically secure areas. While a pandemic struck us overnight, unprepared, we can prepare for the post-covid period which is coming.
In becoming and remaining successful as a company or an individual, finding the perfect match is a key stone.
That is why we – with our search & selection and interim & project management solutions – always search for the perfect match between company and candidate. We will not stop until it’s a match … Made in Heaven.