Why hybrid work is not the reason for underperforming organizations

What’s the future of work post-pandemic?

90% of the current most shared and commented posts on LinkedIn try to answer this question. And there is no agreement among the readers.

While some large companies like Google have promised greater flexibility, many other company leaders have publicly declared that remote work has diminished collaboration and company culture. For this reason, their plan is to go back to the offices after summer.

Employees aren’t sitting and waiting on this though. A good proportion of them is making the decision to quit their company instead of giving up working from home.

Here are some interesting numbers. 39% of 1,000 US adults would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. Among millennials and Gen Z, the numbers go even up to 49% (survey from Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News, May 2021).

They claim flexibility and for good reasons.

As we are all creatures of habits, it’s not surprising to hear that employees are unwilling to give up flexibility as they:

  • Got used to remote working
  • Learned how to be productive in a new context
  • Saved money and time as they stopped commuting

It takes months to build new high-performance habits, so it becomes obvious they are reluctant to change them.

On the other hand, some employees have clearly struggled to cope with remote working (dealing with kids, technology burnout, working long hours, mental health issues).

There is no easy solution, so this is why the hybrid model is getting popular. It gives flexibility but also allows employees to meet in person and bond with each other (which is critical to building more trust in an organization).

As said earlier though, some leaders perceive flexibility as a threat to their performance.

In reality, it’s not flexibility that is preventing organizations from thriving. It’s their company culture.

These are organizations where company leaders have been struggling to build trust internally. In these situations, leaders and managers often:

  • over-control their employees
  • micromanage them
  • give little autonomy
  • favor bureaucracy over flexibility
  • reward long working hours over performance

These organizations aren’t necessarily toxic but don’t allow people to perform at the best of their abilities.

Therefore, the solution isn’t to return to the office but is to instill trust across the organization so people can feel empowered to reach their optimal performance and deliver great results working remotely.

As there is no evidence that remote working has a negative impact on results, the hybrid model offers an incredible opportunity for any leader to build a new set of high-performance habits for their organization.

By doing so, the employees not only will work better, engage more, and reduce their stress level, but they will reward employers in terms of better performance.

It doesn’t stop there. More flexibility will lead to a better workplace that will eventually attract more talents to the organization.

Albert Einstein said: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”.

Let’s not waste it.

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