Global Business Leader, Scott Barber, and Author and Speaker, Laura Manescu, came together to discuss the long-term benefits of hybrid workplaces for employees and employers. They also focused on the short-term challenges in making it work, and how workplace culture may need to change in the future.
Recent surveys suggest that between 60 and 70% of people want the flexibility to work from home and the office. 69% of businesses in Australia and New Zealand intend to allow people to work one or more days a week from home. 61% of business leaders are “focused on reimagining the workplace.” Adding to this rising trend, Scott Barber said, “Employee goodwill has played a major role in making the shift to a hybrid workplace successful during the pandemic… but many now say... we have done it for a year, why on earth would we need to go back to an office 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.”
Lara Manescu reflected the same thought and quoted, "Flexibility is the key thing here. Organizations have discovered trusting their employees is a powerful aspect. This has led employees to balance their work-life better."
For employees, flexibility to decide where and when they can work most productively is one of the leading benefits of a hybrid workplace. Employers benefit from the ability to build greater diversity into their workforce by recruiting talent that lives further afield or even implement a more flexible work schedule.
Also Read: Recruiting in a Hybrid Workplace
Businesses have also recognized the substantial financial benefits that a hybrid workplace can offer. Suncorp recently stated that it would save $10,000 per employee working remotely, and Google will save US$1bn in 2021 directly as the result of increased home working.
While the hybrid workplace model has its advantages, it is not without challenges. Both our speakers noted that leadership would be more challenging as team members spend less time in the office.
"Organisations have started to look at soft skills and personality types, in particular for leadership roles, to make sure their hires fit into the company culture," said Laura. Leaders will need to enhance their EQ, and performance management will have to focus more on outcomes than hard KPIs and ‘facetime.’
Bonus Read: 5 Challenges of a Hybrid Workplace
Learning and development will also be more challenging in a hybrid workplace model. We will have to rely less on ‘learning by osmosis’ and be more structured in our knowledge sharing.
“(On the job learning) is an area of concern for me, particularly the junior staff. If you are not in an office listening, I worry about the skills gap,” said Scott.
The future is hybrid, but to make it work, policies need to be developed by all the people affected, including passionate employees and our business leaders. With a hybrid workplace, it is time to repurpose and rethink our workplaces.
Watch the entire webinar here.