For those of you following along with our “This Week in Hybrid & Remote Work” series, you know that we usually focus on the top stories related to the technology issues organizations are facing around enabling remote & hybrid work. This week, however, we came across quite a few articles dealing with the organizational, emotional, and managerial implications of our new work realities. And this is an area that certainly deserves attention, too – so we’re mixing it up a bit this week.
If this is your first time joining us and are looking for more technology-focused coverage, you can check out previous weeks’ posts here.
For those looking for some additional perspective, here are the top stories we came across this week:
1) A blueprint for designing hybrid work strategies (Fortune)
This guest post in Fortune was written by a professor of work and organizational studies at MIT Sloan School of Management and presidential chair of sociology at the University of Minnesota. In what be one of the most amazing examples of good timing, the authors finished a 5-year-long study on how companies could help employees create better work-life balance and issued their initial report in April 2020, right after the pandemic began.
In this article, they’ve dug into the data from that 5-year research project to outline the key findings that apply to management teams that are currently struggling to find the balance between remote work and hybrid work for their teams.
The post-COVID decisions about what to do next represent a challenge, but also an opportunity. The pandemic has disrupted old patterns, opening up possibilities for not only remote work or more flexible schedules, but for reassessing previously taken-for-granted ways of working.We expect most employees and managers will prefer some blend of remote and in-office work going forward, as they did in our study. The exact mix may depend on the work being done and the personal lives of the workforce, but working at home exclusively only works well for some employees and roles. However, our research shows that having some say in when, where, and how they work is highly valued by many employees, and can be good for a company’s bottom line.
The takeaway from our research is clear: Don’t let this opportunity to redesign work for the better pass your organization by.
2) 3 ways to encourage informal communication in a hybrid workplace (Fast Company)
One thing that we’ve seen more people talk about as an argument for getting people back into the office is the need to recreate the “magic” of informal communications that can happen in an office environment. From the article:
The reopening announcements are good news in the sense that one of the themes to emerge during the COVID-19 pandemic was the importance of informal communication and the difficulty of maintaining it with a remote workforce. Remote work removes many of the day-to-day opportunities present in physical workplaces that allow informal communication to unfold so naturally, that it’s virtually invisible.
Here at Cameyo, we are and always have been a globally distributed and fully remote team, and as such, we’ve always been focused on finding ways to enable and encourage people to interact and joke around with their colleagues virtually. And many organizations – even prior to the pandemic – have long had great success with distributed and remote teams. Frankly, it seems like this argument that informal communication can only happen in an office only comes from the management teams who are hell-bent on getting people back into a physical space.
With that said, it is extremely important to be purposeful and deliberate about enabling this type of communications in remote and hybrid environments, and this article does a great job of providing some concrete steps you can take, including:
RECOGNIZE INFORMATION “HAVES” AND “HAVE NOTS”
HOW TO PLAN FOR UNPLANNED CONVERSATIONS
CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR MAGIC TO HAPPEN IN PERSON AND ON VIDEO
PROVIDE PERSONALIZED TRAINING
SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
You can read the full article here.
3) 10 New Books for Leading in a Hybrid Work Environment (Entrepreneur)
There’s not much to say about this one, other than that it’s a great list of books that will help you and your team become better leaders in this new future of work. The author sums it up perfectly:
As the working world evolves at an accelerating pace, it’s more important than ever to make the time to stay on top of your professional development. These books will help you adapt to the hybrid workplace.
If you and your team are committed to using this unique time in history to re-think and re-shape how your company and people work, then check out the full list of books here.
4) Emotional intelligence is more than a buzzword—it’s a requirement for a return to life (Fast Company)
This article struck me because its advice is equally valuable when thinking about just resuming normal life in general, but also when thinking about a return to the office. For those not familiar with the concept of EQ:
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and regulate emotions in ways that help us think more clearly and work with others more effectively. Such an ability is a superpower for managing uncertainty and ambiguity—something everyone is experiencing these days.
This article does a great job of providing a valuable and practical overview of EQ in what amounts to just a 5-minute read. There are a lot more layers to peel back, and the article links to many of them, but it’s a great primer and provides lots to think about.
You can check out the full article here.
5) We’ve all forgotten to ask what hybrid working really means (TechRadar)
This one resonated with me because of the parallel it draws between “hybrid work” and “digital transformation.” This is a frequent joke that comes up in a lot of conversations, the fact that “hybrid work” is gunning for “digital transformation’s” throne when it comes to the least understood business phrase:
No longer is remote working discussed in romantic terms, as a revelatory solution to problems that have dogged office workers for decades. Instead, it has been decided that “all things in moderation” is a maxim that applies in this context too, and that hybrid working is the ultimate ideal.
However, according to Anand Eswaran, President and COO at RingCentral, a variety of pitfalls await businesses as staff begin to return to the office. One of the main problems is that no one quite knows what “hybrid working” really means.
- Take a look at our list of the best VoIP services around
- We’ve built a list of the best UCaaS services out there
- Here’s our list of the best business phone systems available
“Since the start of the pandemic, ‘hybrid working’ has overtaken ‘digital transformation’ as the most cliched phrase in business,” Eswaran told TechRadar Pro. “Every company is going to be on a journey to figure it out.”
This is a great article that reminds us all not to get too lost in buzz phrases and ground everything we do in actual business strategy. Check out the full article here.
Thanks for joining us, and we’ll you back here next week.