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Hybrid is a Real Estate Strategy, not an HR Policy

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

Plus, 3 tips for embracing the best of remote work, even in an office!

If there's one thing that really pushes Ali’s buttons, it’s the current conversation around “hybrid.” Now, don’t click off of this blog post yet. Yes, she believes “hybrid” exists; of course, there are companies where some people work co-located at an office while others are located elsewhere. That being said, she believes, ultimately, it’s a real-estate strategy, not an HR or remote work policy.

Why? From an inclusion standpoint, even if just one person is remote, the company should be operating with the best practices of a remote company, even if co-located part of the time. That means moving systems, processes, and tools online that allow employees to operate and collaborate anywhere.

The real question should be HOW the work gets done, not WHERE the work gets done.

What’s stopping us? We like to think it comes down to the 3 S’s: Satisficing, Sunk Costs, and Self-Serving Reasoning. You can learn more about these reasons in our recent CAVO blog post.

Let’s imagine that you worked through all the reasoning. You’ve asked yourself the most important question: If you were to start your organization today, what mode would you choose? And your answer: we still want an office (at least part of the time).

Here are three tips for how you can still apply the best of remote work practices within your organization:

  1. Create a culture of documentation: Think back to all of your time that you’ve given to meetings with no notes and hazy memories. Ugh, so much life wasted! Instead, stop doing that. Embrace letting computers do what they are best at, archiving and finding information. (We know, we worked at Google and DuckDuckGo). That means after a meeting: write a summary, create a knowledge base and develop a process for communication via a project management tool. (You get the idea.)

  2. Don’t make major decisions synchronously: Simply stated, it is rushed and can ostracize stakeholders working remotely or in different time-zones. Instead, work on the problem asynchronously first and agree on how decisions will be made and by who. And most importantly, stick with it—even if you perceive it to take more time. Ultimately, the solution will likely be more inclusive, rooted in less bias, and of a higher quality.

  3. Have clear standard operating behaviors: Set clear expectations on well, everything. Discuss with your employees the purpose of the office space and the online tools—and why you’ve opted for a hybrid mode. Create norms and simple rules on how to interact and engage with each other, both digitally and in real life.

It’s our hope that you embrace the digital-first way of working, and yes, you can still have in-person conversations and an office desk (we first met in a co-working space in Cape Town). Remote is a state of mind more than anything else—even if you’re co-located most of the time!

Reflection Questions:

  1. How has your organization addressed hybrid work policies?

  2. How could you re-frame conversation to be about HOW work gets done, not WHERE?

  3. Which of the three tips could you try this month?


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