Remote and Hybrid Models Don't Work
As a result of the pandemic an unprecedented number of businesses have been forced into a remote working model whether they wanted it or not. Now as businesses look to return to some kind of normality a Remote and Hybrid (part home/part office) work model is being seen as the most likely working conditions for many businesses, and indeed is being demanded by many workers. The data suggests a return to 100% in office will be in the small minority. For many, that is a welcome change and a rare positive born of a terrible pandemic - but are we naive to think we can simply transition seamlessly in such a fundamental area of our lives? It appears we will need more than a zoom account and instant chat to thrive in Remote/Hybrid first environments.
Let's be very clear, we are not saying that remote and hybrid working models can't work. We are saying that right now they don’t.
Hybrid work has many variations. Some companies might allow every employee the flexibility to work on-site and remotely part of the week. Other companies might have employees working either full-time remote or full-time on-site. And others might allow a combo of the two. (envoy.com)
Research has shown that many employers we talk to spend far too little time acknowledging that building the muscles for a truly effective hybrid operating model could take years, not least because they are still learning what actually works in such environments. At a time when much of the workforce is experiencing significant discontent and overwhelming exhaustion, few employees see a return to an office-centric working model as a path to improvement, and given the success of remote working in the past year, employers will be asked to justify their decisions to change the arrangement. However, if leaders are willing to start from scratch, question everything, and make intentional decisions with a clear, evidence-based rationale, the current disconnect between them and their employees could serve as the creative tension point that will power a customer-focused, employee-led operating model designed for today and tomorrow.
It will take years for remote employees and remote companies to replace the traditional office and embrace the hybrid movement. It will . That is why we are putting forward the Remote and Hybrid Work Maturity Index framework as a tool for companies to navigate and evolve positively through the global workforce mindset shift to a hybrid work environments.
Our Philosophy on Hybrid Work Environments
Our philosophy and hypothesis at Clearword is simple. Digital meetings were never meant to be like this. Dated in-office meeting practices sneaked their way online. These antiquated practices are causing meetings companies to run poorly. With a worldwide shift to distributed hybrid work environment - a better approach is critical.
🚨 Our mission is to remove friction points from online communication 🚨
We are not doing so by changing the product they use, the workflows they're used to, but by addressing the many friction points around meetings. The litany of friction points around meetings make them nothing short of frustrating. Those friction points are what makes us dread getting on another Zoom.
How Can Hybrid Models Work?
The last year and a bit was rough for many companies. A "Hybrid Paradox" has developed where in-person meetings are becoming much less frequent, whilst people skills are more important than ever.
Moving a company from in-office to hybrid, does not only mean using Slack and more Zooms. It means completely changing human resources, the way we manage, how we collaborate and communicate. It means a drastic change in promoting inclusivity and diversity.
To kickstart with interesting content, here's a very useful NPR on how to successfully make a Hybrid setup work for you and your boss.
What Makes a Company Hybrid?
We do not consider hybrid to be a binary model where a company is hybrid or it isn't. Instead it's a spectrum with multiple levels of hybrid capabilities.
This is why we decided to develop the first version of the Remote and Hybrid Maturity Index. This is to help companies understand their maturity level. Understanding where you stand allows you to continuously provide more support to your remote teams.
This is a living guide, and draft which will continuously be updated as time progresses.
The Remote and Hybrid Maturity Index is broken down into six levels which can be found in explained in depth on the Remote Hybrid Work Maturity Index Levels post.
Moving from left to right, if you identify your company at Level 1 - then you are operating in a pretty antiquated, almost exclusively in office working environment with email as the main online communication tool. If you see your company at Level 6, then congratulations - you are really working in the future. This is a company that is on the cutting edge of communicating and working online with established Hybrid work guidelines, Async and synchronous communication, clear life-work balance and and inclusive and diverse workforce.
One of the most significant impacts of the pandemic is that many businesses have been forced to adopt some form of Level 3.
Always remember, these levels are not judgemental. Every company and every industry has its own set of practices. These levels are meant as a path forward to becoming a more productive hybrid company.
The Stages of Hybrid Companies
There are foundational pillars companies need to pay attention to when improving their hybrid posture. We've extensively researched the common questions around hybrid working and categorised them.
We have written more in detail about each stage in our foundations of Remote and Hybrid Work Maturity Levels Stages.
We are extremely excited and happy to be presenting your Remote and Hybrid Work Maturity Index. More importantly, we would love to hear your experiences. How do you work remotely? Is your company making you return to work? What kind of tools do you use?