What do we need to think about to make hybrid working models successful?

2.7k views8 Comments

CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees
If you're having a meeting with half your team in the room and half working from home, how do you generate an environment that enables equal participation for everybody in meetings? What tends to happen is the people in the room get into side conversations that nobody else can hear and the people joining virtually get neglected. From a CIO and team leader perspective, that’s one of the things we should be thinking about in terms of doing things differently. 
CIO Strategic Advisor in Services (non-Government), 2 - 10 employees
The first thing that we have to recognize is we will go through phases of this. Whatever you decide today is based on certain assumptions, regardless of what that model looks like. Over time, you might realize that it doesn't work because you actually need more time in the office as opposed to out of the office. You’ll start to understand how your corporate culture works because that factors into how you make decisions and collaborate. We're going to go through the next normal, and then the next normal, and so on. If you step back and recognize that first, it will cause you to think more flexibly in terms of the solutions or approaches you take, knowing that it may need to change and most likely will need to change yet again.
Advisor | Investor | Former CIO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
We're still figuring this out and it will become more and more obvious that we'll have to make some very tough calls in terms of policies that we introduce into the environment. Companies have already discovered that it’s an issue if part of the team is in the office on the same day when the rest are remote, that's why they're going with a specific model. They're being declarative on which days they’ll all be in the office and which days they’ll work from home. And the two tier model is a huge problem where there are people that have declared they’re staying remote no matter what; it's creating all kinds of friction.
VP, Global IT in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Before COVID, lots of us had distributed teams. Whether somebody works in Chicago versus San Francisco doesn't make any difference to me. They’re simply not with me in the same room, so it’s not that new. I’m from the Netherlands, where hybrid working has been around for 10 years because they're running out of space. As a manager, you can say, "There's something I want to discuss. Would it work if the three of us meet in the office next week?"

The office becomes more like a meeting place where you have rich conversations. Everybody knows that when you put people in a conference room, something happens that doesn't happen on a Zoom call. Maybe that's where the perceived increase in productivity comes from, because everybody that's not physically in a meeting room has their video off, so they can crank out all these emails.

We're trying to control something that is organically evolving. We're all still trying to figure this out. Some people don't like to be working from home because they don't have the discipline that is required to stay focused in that context, so it's not for everybody. There are people that just want to get back to the office, especially if they’re in a negative environment at home; at least they get a bit of a mental break when they’re in the office. We need to think about whether there is an added value to being in the office for certain discussions. Maybe the person that only creates invoices can stay remote forever. It doesn't matter if the office doesn't provide added value for them to do their work.
Highly Qualified Expert in Healthcare and Biotech, 10,001+ employees
Need to consider async vs sync communication patterns.  What is required for in-person regarding set expectations and what can be remote. All of this boils down to communication with employees.  If employees leave or job hop it can be costly, need to understand actual cost based on staffing for people based on business outcomes.  If you don't perform this analysis, throwing money to the wind on the ops side of the ledger.  Monitoring people is an issue, work needs to be based on targets and outcomes not time and location.   I ran a startup 100% virtual and was able to make it work very well with good comms. 
VP of IT in Real Estate, 201 - 500 employees
We need to think about the best way to communicate (in both directions) between local and remote workers.  Not just from an efficiency standpoint, but adding and evaluating other touchpoints to ensure EFFECTIVE communication and remind team members of what their options are for feedback loops both within the team and with various management members, as appropriate.
CIO in Finance (non-banking), 1,001 - 5,000 employees
The most important thing for teams to innovate and thrive is having diversity of thought on the team.  Teams were fine expressing themselves in a “neutral zone” i.e. when everyone was at home.  With a hybrid environment we need to ensure people have an opportunity to express the thoughts versus sidebar conversations, hallway conversations etc.   This is tough as humans were made to connect and once they are in a room together they will.  In this new environment as leaders we need to be purposeful and conscious of the absence of some teammates.  This requires empathy and meeting people where they are so they feel valued.  
Senior Director of DevSecOps in Hardware, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Flexibility and the ability to identify performance regardless of work location.  I.E.  Those visible in person shouldn't' be the only ones up for recognition such as bonuses and promotions.  There are plenty of potential leaders who can lead remotely without concern and these individuals need to be identified even if they're not physically present.  Measuring performance regardless of location is key in operating and leading in a hybrid model.

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Director of IT, Self-employed
One thing I do is include them in the meetings about the changes that will take place and get their opinion.  I also lay out the pros and cons of the changes and how it will effect us as a team moving forward.

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