The Four Pillars Of Successful Hybrid Working

A few weeks after Apple started requiring workers to spend at least three days a week in the office including Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, many employees have been raising concerns about the fairness and logic of that plan. 

The recent Apple controversy over the company’s return-to-office plan is a reminder that some employers are still having trouble grasping what flexibility really looks like.

On the other hand, one of the Apple’s competitors, Dell has not only allowed any employee to work remotely, but it is also the most forward with programs that try to help employees do a better job with work/life balance while placing a high priority on creating relationships inside the company.

That is only one example of different hybrid working approaches in the technology industry. However, the problem of implementing a successful hybrid working practice is transferrable across each industry across the world, not leaving the downstream oil industry far behind.

As with any major shift from traditional methods of business to this new practice that can be seen as both beneficial and dangerous at times; careful consideration needs to go into how sustainability will play out in their company culture going forward. 

Making a hybrid working work

To be successful, the focus needs to be on setting up the right infrastructure so that employees can effectively work in a number of scenarios whether it be remotely, in the office, or on the go. This includes creating processes that support remote work, such as flexible work hours, company meetings, time tracking, online watercooler moments and more.

There are multiple factors that affect successful hybrid working. However, we believe that the following four pillars are key to successful hybrid working. And putting people and their wants and needs at the centre.

1. Culture

Successful hybrid working starts with a clear and transparent culture that supports organisational business goals. Leaders need to be visible, supportive and empathetic in order to succeed.

2. People

Hybrid working should support inclusion and greater flexibility, in both where and when people work.

As an organisation you need to ask yourself questions like:

1) What are the needs of your employees?

2) Are employees set up for success both professionally and personally?

3) How can you support the work-life balance of your employees?

4) What is stopping them from getting work done?

3. Technology

The right technology tools are a must for any remote-first infrastructure. All employees need to be able to easily communicate, collaborate, and share ideas as they did in the office. The role of technology should be as an enabler – helping organisations transform for hybrid work and reimagine everything from meetings that transcend space and time to a digital employee experience that everyone can access from anywhere – right in the flow of their work.  

4. Processes

You cannot take habits from the office and think that they will work for hybrid employees. In fact, if you did try this, then it is likely you were seriously let down. What might work for one person might not work for everyone else. Processes need to be rethought for different working scenarios, and that should also include taking into account different functions, teams and departments within the organisation. If people come to a set office location for work they need to see a purpose for going there. For example, is it better for project collaboration to do this face to face at the office, or on TEAMS at home? 

The bottom line

The success of hybrid working arrangements starts with people – the most valuable asset of any organisation. Businesses need to carefully consider all of the factors shaping the future of work. This means the top management needs to work together with different departments, teams and direct managers, on what kind of arrangement works best on the individual and organisational level, be that in an office, work from home, or a hybrid approach.

In our next article, we will share the best strategies in order to create a strong working environment for employees in a hybrid working world.