Flex is next: Building the flexible core of hybrid work

Britta Schellenberg
Britta Schellenberg

Every other week I’ll be sharing the latest and greatest new stories in hybrid work news. Here’s the second edition of the Flex is next series.

In yoga, of which I’m a big fan, “bridge pose” is where you lie on your back, then put your weight on your shoulders and feet as you lift your back up.

Bridge pose is great for building core strength and flexibility. Well, the world of work is now moving to “bridge pose,” with home and office being the two ends of the bridge and employee productivity and business growth being the core that needs supporting. As the VP of Marketing here at Robin, I read a lot about the hybrid workplace, and every two weeks I share my favorite articles with you.

Feel free to let me know what YOU think.

Okay, let’s get the conversation started.

Hybrid work models: the future of work

A May 27 Harvard Business Review article noted that about 1% of organizations are planning to remain “remote only” post-pandemic, while about 5% are planning to have all employees return full-time to the post-pandemic workplace.

“The remaining 94% [of organizations] will have some mix of in-office, remote, and hybrid employees.”

The key to success in developing hybrid work plans will be a combination of clear communication as well as flexible approaches to how and where work gets done, all enabled by technology such as Robin’s.

Offer Flexible Work or Risk Losing Talent

Psychology Today explored the benefits of remote work for employee well-being and described employee attitudes about both remote work and returning to the office. They cited an Ernst and Young global survey that showed:

  1. 90% of employees want some form of “flexibility as to when and where they work” after the pandemic
  2. 54% of employees said they’d consider leaving an employer who didn’t offer that flexibility post-pandemic.

Broken: The Traditional 9-to-5 Work Model

Time magazine published a must-read article about how the pandemic has forever changed how people think about work. employees are now “reassessing their relationship to their jobs,” says Time. “The modern office was created after World War II, on a military model—strict hierarchies, created by men for men, with an assumption that there is a wife to handle duties at home.” That rigid model doesn’t work for today’s employees.

“There’s a growing realization that the [traditional 9-to-5] model is broken. Millions of people have spent the past year re-evaluating their priorities. How much time do they want to spend in an office?” — Time Magazine

The stakes could not be higher, “Companies that don’t reinvent [how they work] may well pay the price, losing top talent to businesses that do.” 

Co-Creating the Future of Work around EX

A great TechRepublic article looks at how companies and employees are co-creating the future of work around employee experience in both digital and physical spaces. "[A]s organizations have begun to see that work-life and whole-life are intertwined,” says the article, “we're really beginning to see the employee experience encompassing much more than the office. Now it means the home where work gets done, but it also means the experience that employees have in doing their work." Creating that strong employee experience (EX) will take a flexible, multidisciplinary approach that includes HR, facilities management professionals, senior leadership, and IT/technology leaders.

Top Global Law Firm Announces Hybrid Work Plan 

One of the 50 largest law firms both globally and in the US, Dechert has told its employees that as of September 13 they will have the flexibility to choose where they work best, depending on the nature of their work. The firm had previously conducted an internal employee survey, finding that while employees wanted the flexibility of working from home, they also wanted the option to return to the office in order to support collaboration and culture. As reported in a Reuters article, the firm told its employees: "we trust you to choose where and how to work [best] based on your needs, your family, your team and your clients." 

Hybrid Work Plans: One Size Won’t Fit All

Every organization is different and has different needs for what hybrid work might look like. Organizations need flexible approaches and flexible tools to enable them to shift when change arrives (and it will), both at the employee level and at the organizational level. As we say in yoga, “flexibility is strength.” A great Quartz at Work article explains that there’s no single, standard hybrid work model:  “the [hybrid work] discussion is all over the place. Where you work today (or come September, or starting in 2022) might depend on your industry, your company culture, your manager, or your situation at home.” The key to success is developing flexibility: we’re all in bridge pose today.

Thank you for reading, and see you again in two weeks! Do some yoga till then. We’ve all got to maintain flexibility.

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