NextMapping Future of Work Blog

Cheryl Cran

Welcome to the Future of Work blog – this is where you will find posts on all things related to the future of work.

We have guest bloggers that include CIO’s, Behavioral Scientists, CEO’s, Data Scientists including posts by our founder Cheryl Cran.

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The Future Workplace Is a Hybrid Of Remote and In Office Workers

October 8, 2020

We have heard a lot of talk about the ‘new normal’ since the beginning of the pandemic. In reality no one really knows what that new normal will look like.

Right now we are going through a social revolution. The pandemic is causing workers to reassess what work means to them individually.

Employers have adapted to the work from home reality quickly. They have discovered that it is possible and even beneficial to have remote workers.

Prior to Covid19 many workers were requesting an increase in remote work .

In many cases employers would respond to the remote work request saying that it just wasn’t possible.

Now and in the future the fact is that remote work is here to stay.

Research has found that two thirds of workers surveyed feel more productive working remotely. A Lenovo report found that 52% of those surveyed felt that working from home was indeed the ‘new normal’.

One of the biggest challenge for workers working remotely was dealing with at home interruptions as well as mental well-being challenges.

In reality the new normal the future workplace is a hybrid of remote and in office workers.

There is an opportunity right now for leaders to strategize and plan now for what the hybrid workplace will look like.

So how can companies plan for the hybrid workplace in a post pandemic reality? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Company leaders have an opportunity right now to gather their own research and data on how their workers are doing right now. This would include surveys and polls on how workers are feeling working remotely.
  2. For companies that have been already have both in office and remote workplace workers there is an opportunity to assess how well its going. Leaders can gather anecdotal data in one on one conversations about what’s working and what’s not working.
  3. With the social impact of the pandemic its important that leaders are sensitive to their individual workers reactions and realities. For example a parent on parental leave may want to work remotely 60% of the time and in office 40% of the time. It is critical to gather individual preference data in order to create the best possible options for all workers.
  4. The ideal hybrid workplace would take into account the right balance of gathering for meetings in person versus virtually. Creating criteria to base decisions around when to meet in person or virtually would help everyone to be on the same page.
  5. The hybrid workplace requires a new way of looking at performance measurement. There is an opportunity to identify new metrics for measuring employee effectiveness in a hybrid structure. I predict that along with AI, real time data, meeting analysis AI that there will be more data with which to identify worker success. However technology measurement of performance is not the only indicator of worker contribution. There needs to be an increase in peer reviews based on how a worker contributes to the team or to client success.

There is no question that where we are heading is towards a ‘next normal’ that will be shaped and led by worker preferences.

Companies will need to adapt very rapidly to what workers want and need. Whereas in the past it was the employer who set the codes of conduct and rules of plan I predict it is the worker who will determine when work gets done, how it gets done and the ideal place to do the work too.