In collaboration with Survey Monkey, the company Zoom recently queried 1,500 U.S. based remote workers to determine what they want the future of work to look like (you can find the blog post here). Unsurprisingly, the hybrid work model (policies around who has permission to work from where and when) is something people are very interested in pursuing. Some of the conclusions drawn by the author we are thrilled to see and are in total agreement with.
"They [employers] need to equip their teams with tools to connect, collaborate, and get more done, no matter where they’re working from."
This is absolutely true! In order for people to get work done together from wherever they are, they need the technological infrastructure to support that.
But what about cultural infrastructure?
With people working from different places, how will organizations manage expectations? How will they ensure that employees begin their days focusing on the work, rather than on where people are working from?
We fear that this easily missed but remarkably important artifact regarding culture is getting overlooked, and perhaps might lead organizations to plant trees where it's been shown they cannot bear fruit (for example - creating an open workspace to foster collaboration without providing the necessary cultural support, relying on the physical space to somehow passively facilitate collaborative practices... HRB Study - spoiler alert: this does not work).
The article goes on to mention some interesting findings about which meetings people prefer to have virtually or in the office.
But before thinking about where/how we want to have our meetings, doesn't it make sense to ensure our culture first and foremost asks: is a meeting really the right activity to move the work along? Before getting crystal clear about the work, does it make sense to first make policies around how meetings will take place? And will those policies make sense for all teams and all meetings?
Three of our biggest questions surrounding hybrid models are as follows:
1. Does the hybrid model meaningfully direct individuals and teams to get clear on the measurable results they are trying to achieve?
2. Does it empower individuals and teams with the autonomy necessary to choose the activities that make the most sense based on the work in that moment?
3. Is the hybrid model focused on continuing to define work as a place we go (office or home), rather than something we do?