How more businesses can embrace hybrid work

Hybrid arrangements should be seen as an opportunity for “forward-looking design”, not just “back to work,” says Josh Bersin, keynoter of HR Tech.

Even as concerns about the Delta COVID variant continue to rise, many organizations are convinced the worst of the pandemic is behind us and are quickly planning the long-awaited “back to work”. While some CEOs expect this to mean a return to the traditional office, it is becoming increasingly evident that many companies will adapt to a “more flexible and forgiving work environment,” according to a new report from the Josh Bersin Academy.

“CEOs and their very senior management teams are used to having face-to-face interactions with people, so they expect the recovery from the pandemic to be a big comeback in the office,” said Josh Bersin. , founder and dean of Josh Bersin Academy and a speaker at the upcoming Human Resources Technology Conference that will explore the future of hybrid work in a free webinar on July 21. – half and I would like to keep doing what I’m doing, ”so there’s a bit of a showdown going on.

Once seen as a code to “not work,” Bersin says, the pandemic has broken the stigma of working from home and taught employers that it can work. As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, employers need to reassess their attitude towards remote working. Already, Bersin points out, the second most common “location” for job postings on LinkedIn is “remotely”.

Yet not all organizations are convinced by the idea of ​​a fully remote workforce. As a result, many are turning to a hybrid work environment where employees work in the office on some days and remotely on others. In the Hybrid work manual, the researchers write that there is no clear blueprint for this new hybrid world of work. However, simply “reassigning legacy policies to remote work” is unlikely to be sufficient.

“Before the pandemic, working remotely or working days from home were considered a joke,” Bersin explains. “Now it’s much more common. We have learned a lot of good things about remote working during the pandemic, and as companies look to move to a hybrid work environment, they should see it as a design opportunity for the future, not an exercise. back to work. “

As HR managers seek to formulate their company’s hybrid work strategies, Bersin recommends that they operate in cross-functional teams, bringing together senior leaders, IT, facilities, security, legal and management. They should also involve employees in the design and implementation. After all, he says, they are the customers of hybrid work.

McLean, Va.-Based Mars Inc. has created a team focused solely on the future of work. According to Nuno Gonçalves, Global Head of Strategic Capacity Building, the team “listened, interviewed and conducted focus groups and surveys to understand where we are collectively and to co-create that future”. Since the global pet food and care business operates in around 50 countries, the timing of its transition to a hybrid work environment is going to vary depending on the vaccination rates in each location, according to Gonçalves. In Portugal, for example, where he lives, only 20% of the population had been vaccinated by mid-June. With vaccination rates in Spain having recently surpassed 50%, Gonçalves will soon be traveling to Barcelona to meet his boss for the first time. By September, the company hopes to officially start operating under a hybrid work regime.

See also: Bersin-8 factors to remember when creating a hybrid plan

“We encourage around 50/50 office / remote presence, but we also provide advice on what kind of work is best done face to face and what kind of work is best done remotely,” says Gonçalves. “We will continuously monitor our performance as a company and listen to our associates to determine whether this is the right strategy or not.”

The ability to experiment, learn what works, and continually improve will be crucial for success, says Bersin. Businesses cannot afford to get stuck in “an endless pursuit of perfection,” he says. “Instead, we need to embrace agile techniques, such as co-creation, rapid deployment of flexible solutions, and rapid detection and response to change. While conceding that the world of hybrid work is uncertain, Bersin points out that HR executives are in a much better position as they plan to transition to a hybrid work model than they were at the start of the pandemic when ‘they had to pivot on a dime to a largely remote workforce.

“During the pandemic, most companies remotely went through a very rapid design process in which they didn’t have a lot of choice,” says Bersin. “HR now has the ability to very purposefully design what the hybrid work experience will look like, soliciting feedback along the way. So the business lands in a place where everyone feels comfortable. “

Click here to sign up for HRE ‘s free July 21 webinar with Josh Bersin: Hybrid Work Planning for What Comes Next.

Julie Cook Ramirez is a Rockford, Illinois-based journalist and writer who covers all aspects of human resources. She can be reached at [email protected]

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