Presence does not equal performance, and much work that office employees carry out could be done in many different places. We are leaving behind the expectation that office work requires a rigid structure and fixed locations. Organizations all around the globe are embracing the fact that work is an action and not a place, and the focus should be on how employees do their work and not where they do it. This day and age offer opportunities to focus on output as opposed to presence and visible activity as a measure of performance.
Employees are now asking for more flexibility to adapt their schedules and locations to what best fits their activities and agendas. Sometimes, they need concentration and being alone. Other times, people need social interaction and feel connected to their organizations. Serendipity and bumping into people, having spontaneous encounters are essential to be inspired and engaged. Hybrid work combines the best of both worlds. With hybrid work models, employees can combine working from home with the possibility of traveling to the central office and using distributed workspaces on-demand, depending on their activities. By adopting a working from anywhere model, organizations give their workforce the agency to decide where and how they work.
Crucial to adopting this model is to build and cultivate a culture of trust. And this trust comes from both organizations and employees themselves.
On the one hand, organizations must trust individuals to be effective when they are in distributed locations to perform their duties. Managers and leaders should tap into their employee’s intrinsic motivations and foster a culture of transparency and responsibility. Prior research has shown that employees that feel trusted by their organizations feel more energy at work, are more engaged in tasks, and have significantly reduced stress levels.
On the other hand, employees need to trust that their employers will provide the tools, management, and locations to get their work done. Increased flexibility and empowerment mean that people get more control over how they manage their time. As a result, employees feel more engaged and motivated, having a positive impact on productivity and satisfaction.
Adopting hybrid working models does not happen overnight and requires organizations to reflect on essential aspects that influence their day-to-day activities like their identity, culture and resources. How and where we work is about to change and, as with any other exciting undertaking, it requires carefully balancing management styles, communication systems and resources.