A Human-Centered Approach to Hybrid Work

Annie Faulkner, The DO School’s Director of Impact Entrepreneurship, reflects on the challenges posed by the new Hybrid Work environment and shares some potential means of navigating them.

 

 

A key concern mentioned by the 1,000 global leaders during We Emerge Week was managing productivity and outcomes in a hybrid work environment. Workforces across the globe are currently balancing the fixed-place work style that we had before the pandemic and the unknown hybrid world of work. 

 

Some of the roundtable outcomes during the week concluded that this balancing act poses real risks to employee health and wellbeing and also serves to accentuate the digital divide in the workplace thus excluding whole sectors of society. But with a human-centered approach and some experimentation, this hybrid work environment can be more fulfilling and productive for both management and employees alike. 

For more advice on how to effectively manage new ways of working remotely, download our We Emerge Action Agenda – complete with actionable insights to the challenges workforces are currently facing.

Traditional management styles combined with the current struggle to separate work from home are hindering business recovery plans and causing internal frustration. Not everyone wants to or can work from home and the main factor about remote work under the current circumstance is that the key element of choice or autonomy has been taken away. That coupled with the fact that after such a sustained period of remote work, teams begin to feel more and more distant. How can we maintain the same levels of company connectedness when private responsibilities share our same physical space and time? At times like this, the focus needs to shift to ensuring a healthy and resilient team, focusing on inclusivity, maintaining morale, and flexing performance measures until they are relevant. 

 

Before the pandemic, we limited our imagination to growth as the primary driver. As highlighted in the recent Gartner report on hybrid workforce models, the hybrid work focus forces us to rethink value and work design in completely new ways. Some of the trends I have witnessed and experienced are echoed in the Cisco report – which reported 64% frequently reporting technology and connectivity issues. Frustration during video meetings, video fatigue and an uneasy feeling of being left out when working from home with other colleagues in the office are very real and practical concerns. We have also seen some well meaning but worrying attempts from managers trying to measure productivity through screen usage – which runs counterintuitive to wellbeing and psychological safety. It is time to act now and own our own responsibilities.

 

The DO School was so inspired by the passion of the contributors during We Emerge Week that we launched The DO School pilot on Hybrid Work: Resilience and Remote Leadership.  We especially wanted to address the challenges of inclusivity in work design, build new productive models of work with a focus on experimenting in new work arrangements and testing hybrid policies. 

 

One of the resources we love on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion is the Turner Consulting Group’s excellent Diversity Wheel, which displays the various dimensions of diversity to take into account.

I have been using human-centered design approaches with clients to implement new employee experience processes. Building on the existing co-created models and introducing The DO School innovation methods, we will address both the ways to create resilient hybrid environments and the most viable and inclusive work solutions, as well as plan in real-time how to implement potential new sources of value. 

ANNIE FAULKNER

ANNIE FAULKNER

Director, Impact Entrepreneurship
The DO School

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