screenshot 2023-08-23 at 10.29.09

INFORMATION

SERVICES

INFORMATION

SERVICES

WORKING THE FUTURE

FOLLOW US

FOLLOW US

WORKING THE FUTURE

Newsletter

LinkedIn 

Twitter

Instagram

Contact us

Privacy policy

Website terms of use

Cookies policy

Consultancy

Recuitment & retention

Foresight Focus

Hybrid work resources

Our vision

Who we are

What we do

Client engagements

The Future of Work | Working the Future
1ftp_businessmember_horizontal_white-720x307-d8610011-fbe2-48f7-be76-94cdcca3e1df
wtflogostrapline tm transparent
wtflogostrapline tm transparent
bba_betterbusinessact_logo_light
bba_betterbusinessact_logo_light
screenshot 2024-04-05 at 11.45.14

Working the Future blog: our latest insights and future of work sensemaking

GETTING TO OPTIMAL HYBRID WORKING

2022-04-12 09:49

Cathryn Barnard

Blog, HYBRID WORK, FUTURE OF THE OFFICE, HYBRID WORKING, TALENT RISK, RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION, FUTURE OF WORK, 21st CENTURY LEADERSHIP, FUTURE OF WORK CONSULTING, ENGAGEMENT,

GETTING TO OPTIMAL HYBRID WORKING

Some months back, I met a friend for coffee. He mentioned work and I was keen to hear how his company was approaching hybrid work. Traditionally cautious...

boomerwomanzoomvideocall-copy.jpeg

Some months back, I met a friend for coffee. He mentioned work and I was keen to hear how his company was approaching hybrid work. Traditionally cautious, his employer had resisted working from home prior to the pandemic. Now, however, things were different. 

 

At least on the surface.  

 

While staff were invited to work from home two days a week, their office time was still, it seemed, micromanaged. HR had embraced the challenge of hybrid work with gusto, presenting employees with thoughtfully designed calendars to ensure representation from each department for each day of the workweek.  

 

The problem however was that no input had been sought to uncover who needed to interface with whom in order to deliver results. Hybrid work had been designed to allow the business access to departments, rather than team members to have curated face time with one another.  

 

My friend was unsurprisingly frustrated. He’d already started looking for a new job elsewhere. 

Getting to optimal hybrid work is complex and nuanced. 

 

+ + + + + 

 

In 2009, US writer Daniel Pink published Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.  

 

Drawing on decades of research in the field of behavioural science, Pink revealed that human motivation comes from within. It’s intrinsic rather than extrinsic. 

 

Upending the idea that most people are motivated by financial compensation and benefits, Pink highlighted three drivers of motivation. Autonomy comprises the extent to which we feel able to direct our own lives. Mastery allows us to hone a craft or skill. Defined purpose gives us meaning and allows us to work in service of something that’s bigger than ourselves.  

 

Drive achieved worldwide success. It won many awards and remained a New York Times bestseller for over 150 weeks. 

 

In 2018, Daniel Coyle published The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups.  

 

After researching high-performing teams within a range of organisations, including Google, Pixar, and the US Navy Seals, Coyle uncovered three components for optimal team performance. First, create environments where people feel psychologically safe enough to take risks with one another. Second, encourage vulnerability by reframing mistakes as learning opportunities. Finally, align around a shared purpose.  

 

The Culture Code gained notoriety worldwide, inspiring executive teams across the world to explore enhanced team dynamics for improved business outcomes.  

 

The findings of both books have been corroborated in other, more academic, literature. 

 

Isn’t it interesting then, how few organisations have adopted an experimental, inclusive approach to hybrid?  

 

Getting to optimal hybrid isn’t a race. It’s a marathon.  

 

Surely those best placed to design optimal hybrid are the workers themselves. Surely staff are best placed to know who they need to interface with, to deliver their best work. Surely employees can be entrusted to figure out which activities require collaboration versus those requiring applied focus? 

 

Maybe the labour market continues its turbulent streak precisely because of the perceived lack of trust and inclusion in the design process of hybrid work.  

 

Perhaps it’s time to leverage all we’ve learnt about behavioural science in the past couple of decades.  

 

Instead of imposing yet another system of control, why don’t we grant employees the autonomy and agency to work out optimal hybrid working arrangements for themselves? Why not create psychologically safe environments that allow for mistakes to be made while they do so? 

 

If we don’t foster autonomy and trust at work now, when will we? 

 

+ + + + +

 

Looking to dive deeper into some of the areas covered in this blog post? Check out our Navigating Talent RiskRecruitment and Retention and Foresight Focus reports and products.

© Working the Future Ltd. 2016-2024. Limited company no. 10512378 registered in England and Wales

 Registered office address: 42 Longfield Drive, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5HE, United Kingdom

Working the Future, the Working the Future logotype and the arrowhead device are all registered trademarks of Working the Future Ltd.