Many organizations have announced a hybrid model, a way forward for the workplace. Google has taken the lead by laying down the foundation stone of the Hybrid Work Model. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, on May 5 this year, informed employees about the company’s decision to create a “Hybrid Workplace” – a 60:20:20 model. 60% of the employees would come together in the office a few days a week,20% would work at new office locations, and 20% would work from home.
As per the latest Mckinsey study, employees are looking for flexibility:
• 64% prefer a hybrid model rather than fully onsite (17%) or completely remote (19%). • 29% say they will look for a different job if required to return fully onsite.
Due to the significant impact of Hybrid Workplace on Employee’s lives, habits, business productivity, it is important to have a communication strategy to manage and inculcate the change in an organization’s culture.
The key question that need to be answered are:
Is this a part of the pandemic-driven new normal or next normal?
As per my experience, this is going to be the next normal because:
- The workplace will not be the way it used to be in the pre-pandemic era
- People have made their home the place for everything i.e. worship, restaurants, gyms, schools, offices, etc. With the onset of Pandemic and work from home, the boundaries between the home and office have blurred.
The hybrid model will bring a significant change in the habits of people that they have adopted during the pandemic-driven new normal.
How to embrace a hybrid work model i.e. next normal?
Communication and a shared vision are the keys. Employers should share their broad plan, direction, and key principles with employees and then continue to evolve with time basis regular feedback, employee’s sentiments, market analysis.
The 4-way approach to communicate and inspire employees to the same vision is:
Expect & Deserve to be heard
Study Organization Sentiments
4- Way Communication
Vision and Environment
Measure Impact Analysis
People expect and deserve to be heard. Implement new programs and initiatives to enhance two-way communication in the organization.
This can be done by skip levels, reverse townhalls, focused group discussion, continuous feedback with the help of a recurring pulse survey, employer branding activities by employees on social media.
Understand how employees are doing personally and professionally during connects. o Understand the employee sentiments during social events, connects and feedback survey and classify them as Promoters and Detractors
Create an energetic environment by promoting and inculcating benefits, policies, and principles i.e. creating a positive impact
Create a compelling and aspirational vision to work upon the employee’s concerns. Invite employees to participate and share their opinions.
Provide insights and principles of how decisions would be made
Do the impact analysis.
Provide regular support and guide rails to the employees during volatile change.
Organizations and Employees must walk together into the new journey to embrace the next normal and create synergies. Once the change is accepted, the way forward will bring a lot of innovations in terms of refreshed managerial styles, strengthened social fabric, and new age policies.