On the cusp of 2022 as we transition from the world’s biggest remote working experiment to the world’s biggest hybrid working experiment, organizations are literally learning on the job.
Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index Pulse Report, based on the findings of surveys of the company’s employees, has identified two key trends they believe will reshape the world of work in 2022.
The Hybrid Paradox
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella coined the term ‘’Hybrid Paradox” because of the apparent disconnect between employees wanting flexible working options to continue (70%) but also expressing a desire for greater in-person contact with their teams (65%).
The Great Reshuffle
But more than this. Being confined to our homes during the pandemic has forced people to rethink how and even why they work, changing employee expectations.
Dubbed “The Great Reshuffle” by LinkedIn’s CEO Ryan Roslansky, he believes this opportunity to reflect and re-evaluate will lead to an unprecedented talent migration as employees look for opportunities that will allow them to work in the way they want.
What this means for the future of work
Clearly there is no one-size-fits-all solution to successful hybrid working. This is apparent from Microsoft’s findings where employees cited the same reasons for wanting to work in different ways e.g. 58% of employees who plan to spend the most and least time in the office plan to do so for the same reason: more focused work.
So the key to success, according to Microsoft, is creating a culture of trust and flexibility.
The pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways. Adapting to hybrid work has brought about complexities to leadership, communication, and culture—and as a result, flexibility, trust, and empowerment have become more important than ever.
So, looking ahead to 2022 how can organizations achieve this? Here are Microsoft’s tips for creating the right conditions for successful hybrid working.
1. Maintain a growth mindset
In times of change and uncertainty it really helps to have a positive “growth” mindset, along with the ability to treat failure as a learning experience.
According to Dr. David Rock, a neuroscientist and CEO of the NeuroLeadership Institute, who has worked with Microsoft on creating their cultural and leadership principles: “None of us should try and pretend like we’ve got a perfect grasp of hybrid yet. We’ve all got to get better. We’ve all got to improve.”
2. One-to-one conversations
Keeping the lines of communication open is key for successful hybrid working, according to Microsoft. In particular 1:1 conversations between managers and employees, finding out what model of working fits best with each employee and offering as much flexibility as possible.
3. Model, coach, care
Modelling appropriate behaviours, acting like a coach and looking out for the needs and wellbeing of employees are all fundamental aspects of being a manager if organizations are to cultivate a successful hybrid working environment. This really puts the onus on managers to lead by example.
4. Team agreements
Create a clear set of agreements on how the team will work together in a hybrid world e.g. establish meeting-free days, or days when everyone must be in the office. This provides clarity and allows each individual to see how they fit in to the hybrid working environment.
5. Intentional hybrid meetings
Make hybrid meetings the norm and they’ll soon become part of your company culture. Ensuring everyone is on an equal footing in these meetings is key and Microsoft has produced this handy guide to ensure hybrid meeting best practice.
6. Don’t ignore the basics
It might seem obvious but taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing can make all the difference when it comes to dealing with the uncertainty and change that inevitably comes when getting used to a new way of working. According to Dr Rock: “You have to prioritize your wellbeing now more than any time in your career.”
Do you agree with these? What is your organization doing to facilitate a successful hybrid working environment?
Of course, having the right technology in place is key for bringing together a distributed workforce.
Find out more about Valo’s digital workplace tools, all built on Microsoft 365, and how they can help your organization face the future of work.