Make it Work Episode 3: Hybrid working the new normal?

Ellie Doyle, 5 min read

Make it Work Episode 3: Hybrid working the new normal?

Make it Work is a five-part podcast series where @Karen Kirton, founder of Amplify HR, and Lachy, co-founder of Yarno, look at the modern workplace to find out what's working, what's not, and how the future of work is being shaped, today.


As businesses have adapted to different work environments over the last 12 months, one that has risen to the top is the hybrid working model. The third episode of Make it Work sees Karen and Lachy discuss the newest workplace buzzword: hybrid work.

It isn’t a new concept, but more and more companies have been adopting its structure as Australia semi-returns to everyday life. Basically, hybrid work means staff work some days in the office and some days from home.

With lots to consider before choosing Hybrid work for your team, Lachy and Karen discuss which is more productive; in-office or remote, how to change the office space to foster collaboration, and the skills a leader needs to thrive in a hybrid environment.

PLUS: Lachy and Karen share their own experiences with the model and why they think it could be the future of the workplace.


Show Notes

1:10 Definition of hybrid work

1:45 Atlassian concerned about workers being burnt out by hybrid work {reference 1}

2:30 Is it still hybrid work when you are mandating days to work from an office or is that office work with flexibility?

4:20 Hybrid work is when an employee is in the office at least once per week

4:50 Are companies moving to hybrid work because they have an office space to use or because they think it is the best way to work?

6:45 Is our experience of hybrid right now different to what it could be, because we moved into it so fast?

07:20 “Zoom fatigue” – it hasn’t been designed with the human brain in mind {reference 2}. A lot of effort has been put into security and making it a stable platform, but the next step needs to be human centered design to enable hybrid work

10:45 The book Good to Great talks about technology as an accelerator of existing momentum {reference 3}

11:50 Is hybrid working the most difficult? Starting with meetings with some in the office and some remote, it is easy to feel disconnected

14:15 In open plan offices if some people are in the same meeting but online because there are some people remote, what about the noise levels for the other employees in the office

15:15 Do we end up with more meeting rooms or workplace pods? {reference 4}

16:20 What’s the purpose of a meeting? What’s the purpose of an office?

18:30 Does being in the office and being remote suit different types of roles? {reference 5}

19:50 Do we use the role types to inform who works from home or in the office? How does personality impact on this? Introversion/extraversion?

22:15 Are we starting a two-class system of employees as those in the office are seen as more productive than those who are not?

23:30 Are we creating in groups and out groups? Is there a power and information asymmetry?

26:00 When is the burning platform for organisations to start to notice impacts from hybrid work?

28:30 Imagine if we could design office spaces for humans and how we work

31:10 Coworking spaces have started to show what the workplace should look like with collaboration spaces, flexibility, and enabling different senses

34:15 Offices may not need to just be for your staff. One company may have different office hubs but with other company’s staff that happen to be in the same community

37:30 You need be quite confident you have a good culture if you are going to work out of co-working spaces or invite other organisations to share your office space

39:00 How does it impact on attracting and retaining talent if you don’t have your decisions around how you want to work resolved

42:20 Barriers to entry to change jobs or start your own business are low so retention is key

42:50 The world economic forum Future of Jobs report – 5 years from now we will divide work between humans and machines roughly equally which means that as employees we have to be better at things employers can’t do as an employers we need to set the conditions to enable our employees {reference 6}

45:50 Perhaps the last 12 months will be enough to shift the mindset to stay relevant

46:30 This is the first time we’ve started to have the way we work as a business strategic objective

48:15 We have a fantastic opportunity right now to experiment and bring our staff along for the journey

49:15 We need to adapt, change our mindset and engage greater stakeholder groups

50:50 Article: Business Insider article where the CEOs of Slack, Zoom and Atlassian outline their concerns over working from home {reference 7}

52:00 Slack’s CEO’s concern over new hires “I do sometimes worry that we’re running on the stored fat, or the accumulated social capital that had accrued over the course of the years prior.”

53:00 How we hire will change as we now have more knowledge of our working environment changing

55:00 We used to always talk about visible leadership. Is that still seen as important? Does remote working change what we think effective leadership is?

55:50 Article: SMH Atlassian work anywhere policy {reference 1} . Scott Farquhar is critical of hybrid working “I think a lot of companies that are just doing it two days a week, they’re going to really struggle because they are not going to attract or retain talent, and I think they’ll end up going back to the old way because it’s inertia

58:35 NZ firm in 2018 that started a 4-day work week but kept employee’s salaries as though they were still working 5 days {reference 8}

59:45 Similarly a lot of the information shared around remote work being productive is based on the employee’s perspective

1:02:00 Advice for companies struggling with hybrid work right now as they are overwhelmed by various options. 1. Invest in your leaders as they have a much bigger job to do now with hybrid work. 2. Work on the physical office space to accommodate for noise, collaboration spaces etc. 3. Consider where you want to work when your lease is up (do you need to be in the CBD?) 4. Match your “how we work” strategy to your business strategy

1:06:00 A lot of managers and leaders know people and culture is important, but how much time should you spend on it as a business owner?

1:07:25 Book: Intelligent fanatics – business owners who have built long lasting businesses through their belief that their people are their success {reference 9}

References

1 https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/four-times-a-year-in-the-office-atlassian-goes-all-in-on-wfh-20210428-p57n4w.html

2 https://news.stanford.edu/2021/02/23/four-causes-zoom-fatigue-solutions/

3 https://www.booktopia.com.au/good-to-great-jim-collins/book/9780712676090.html?msclkid=e276c1ee6ebe14b5661ba13f17d9a704

4 Examples:

https://www.sitbackandrelax.com.au/workstations/work-pods.html

https://inapod.com.au/

https://myofficepods.com/product-category/work-pods

5 https://hbr.org/2021/03/designing-the-hybrid-office

6 https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2020

7 https://www.businessinsider.com.au/atlassian-zoom-slack-future-work-hybrid-2021-4

8 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/working-fewer-hours-makes-you-productive-new-zealand-trial

9 https://www.booktopia.com.au/intelligent-fanatics-project-sean-iddings/book/9780997576504.html


Ellie Doyle

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