Work is going hybrid but what does it mean?

Kate Whitley-Gray - Profile image
By Kate Whitley-Gray
Client Services Director

How we work has changed almost beyond recognition in the last year. Our wellbeing took a few hits as we turned our living spaces into offices, loungewear replaced office wear, and our meetings went virtual. And it’s likely we’ll have to adapt again – to welcome hybrid working.  

The move to hybrid work is real, with many teams likely to be a mix of people who partly work from home and partly work in the office. This blended model is predicted to become the new normal as the pandemic subsides and employees are allowed to return to the office. 

According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index survey, over 70% of workers want flexible remote options to continue. As companies launch their future-of-work manifestos to meet new employee expectations, we ask: How can we effectively communicate and engage our people in a brave but uncertain working world?  

It’s an important question and one that affects me as much as it will affect millions of others.  

But I just got used to my five-minute commute...

I'll be one of a new generation of hybrid workers, with a pattern of three days at home and two days in the office. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have only just nailed my new wellbeing, work-from-home routine: a stretch and a coffee in the garden, followed by walking the dog on the beach when possible! As we approach the UK’s Phase 4 reopening and return to the office, I am already anxious about how getting on that train will disrupt my lunchtime walks and staring at the changeable British skies. 

Moreover, I'm wondering how my new working pattern might affect my relationships with my colleagues. Will I be left out of those vital watercooler conversations if my teams are in and I’m not?  Will I miss after work drinks if I'm not in sync with my colleagues’ routines? How on earth am I going to encourage collaboration in our much-missed workshops and inspiration sessions if half my team is virtual? And it might be harder to know how colleagues are feeling if I can’t simply lean over and ask, “Are you okay, can I help?”

A workplace mini-series (No drama, just insights)

We'll be addressing some of these questions in the first of our health and wellbeing communication webinars. The mini-series will focus on how effective, authentic and open communication strategies can help us deal with current challenges.

Our first on hybrid working will:  

  • Include a summary of our findings on where the flexible working trend is headed, and what businesses are currently doing about it.  Alicia McCollam, Global Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager at FTSE 100 company AVEVA, will share her insights and an action plan to make sure you are communicating effectively.
  • Look into new digital behaviours to watch out for when communicating in a virtual world, related specifically to inclusivity and collaboration.
  • Ask how you can reenergise Gen Z and make sure you are meeting this generation's digital expectations. In this age group (16 to 25), 91% say technology would influence job choice among similar employment offers.

If this sounds like some of the challenges you’re facing and would like to join the discussion, sign up to our webinar here. If you’d like to find out how we can inspire your colleagues, feel free to contact me.

Podcast coming soon

And whilst I have your attention, I wanted to let you know about our upcoming podcast series. We’d love your input and questions on these topics in your businesses: 

  • Stress Management: How to support your teams in navigating life challenges whilst at work, with a focus on top tips and practical ideas.
  • Women’s Health & Wellbeing: The menopause is a workplace issue, so how do we engage in dialogue that makes women feel they can be honest?
  • Financial Wellbeing: Enabling authentic conversations in the workplace about money, and how to support your colleagues.

Stay safe, be kind, sing a song at the top of your lungs, and dance like no-one's watching. 

Kate Whitley-Gray - Profile image
By Kate Whitley-Gray
Client Services Director