Tools and support for hybrid work, by Nathalie Ducray

Future of work
April 6, 2022
Published by

Technologies and working methods are often linked; already during the first industrial revolution, technologies shaped working methods, as the nascent company created temporalities and lifestyles to accompany the use of machines and tools: the rhythm of the "three 8s", the creation of workers' housing estates to bring human resources closer to their place of work, etc.

The 2020-2021 pandemic has accelerated a reverse phenomenon, in which this time lifestyles have shaped the technology, or at least its use: illustrated in a single dataset, the Zoom platform went from 10 million daily users in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020!

However, the new working methods are continuing after the health crisis, this time by choice and not by constraint: 82% of eligible employees wish to adopt a hybrid work method, and 63% of managers think that it will continue to develop according to the Malakoff Humanis 2022 remote work and Hybrid Organisations Barometer. This underlying trend is leading companies to shape work to adapt to the temporalities and lifestyles of their employees, and not the other way round!

The challenge for companies in 2022 is to equip and support their employees to manage this real revolution, no longer industrial but tertiary: hybrid work.

A reminder for those who have missed the terminology 'hybrid': the term is not only used in the automotive context to manage the transition between fossil and electric energy! It is now also used to refer to working methods, whether in the company's offices or from home - or indeed from any other place chosen by the employee. Thus, the workspace is becoming hybrid, changing function: the kitchen becomes an office for remote work, partitioned offices become collaborative spaces for "face-to-face" cooperation, a neologism increasingly used to characterise the presence of participants in a meeting in the same place, thus opposing the "remote" of videoconferencing; the workspace is also changing temporality: the nomadic collaborator can work shifted hours, parents can interrupt themselves to pick up the children and return to their keyboards in late hours, among other examples.

Does this apply to all employees? No, and this is one of the first specificities of the hybrid, not all tasks are remote workable, especially in certain sectors such as industry, trade and construction, and the organisation will have to ensure equity, which may be difficult to perceive by employees physically linked to their workplace.

The other major specificity of the hybrid work mode is this alternation of places and times for all or part of the team...

remote work has been around for decades for many international teams, in which remote team members typically work during office hours, in locations that may be scattered around the world, but with a little vigilance to time zones, "who works when and where" is easily identifiable...The hybrid blurs the maps of geography and time, and the question of "who, when, where" ultimately becomes the puzzle for hybrid workers and managers!

Good news, tools now exist to face some of the challenges of hybrid work, notably that of clarifying the geography and temporality of the new work modes; Deskare, a dynamic start-up and forerunner on the market, proposes a solution for organisations in hybrid mode... and so much the better, because we are only at the beginning of the hybridisation of work!

We will not go into detail about the advantages and disadvantages of "distance" vs. "face-to-face" work... the hybrid is precisely designed, if it is well conducted, to take the best of both worlds.

The best of both worlds? In short: take advantage of remote work time for substantive work, increased productivity, and optimization of personal/professional time, and capitalize on office time for collaboration, creativity, and conviviality (see some statistics below*).

However, to think that the solution to a successful hybrid is limited to the above recipe would be too simple. You have certainly experienced or heard some real-life examples of hybrid mode:

  • "I went to the office, but no one from my team (or project group) was there at the same time as me and I found myself alone in front of my computer, doing video conferences... just like from home!"
  • "The company has only given broad outlines about returning to the office "you come back gradually until June and then 2 or 3 days a week at the choice of each employee"; so I stay at home and then we'll see, they have time to change!"
  • "Our remote work agreement mentions 3 days in the office but I, as a team manager, find myself going to the office 4 or 5 days a week to see each member of my team"
  • "When I'm remote work, it's no limit, I do video conferences without a break and I "do the job" after 9pm.
  • "It's nice to remote work, it saves me an hour and a half of daily commuting... but in my 35 m2 home, we have to coordinate with my girlfriend, if we remote work on the same day, we can't plan our visits at the same time!

Faced with this need to work in hybrid mode while managing its complexity, two priorities are essential for companies:

1- Tools: first of all by deploying solutions such as the one proposed by Deskare, to urgently respond to the 'who when where' dilemma in an optimal, fluid and efficient way; but also by fitting out the premises for more collaborative spaces, and by equipping employees with real remote work means protecting the employer's security (cyber threats) and the employee's health - mental and physical.

2- Accompanying the human aspect: experience and studies show that 60% of digital transformations fail... this figure, taken from a Forrester study in 2016, has undoubtedly changed, particularly thanks to the flexibility and ease of deployment of lightweight solutions, such as Deskare's. However, one of the key success factors of digital transformations is not to forget the human transformation aspect. In the case of a transition to hybrid, the following three levels need to be supported:

  • The organisation (management, HR, those involved in the change towards hybrid), to define the framework and the modalities of the hybrid: collective intelligence groups involving HR, managers and employees can accelerate the implementation of an optimal framework;
  • The manager, in order to find the right hybrid approach for his team, depending on the operational challenge, the nature of the tasks and missions, his own needs as a manager, but also according to the personalities that make up his team and the collective dynamic that he wants to put in place: individual coaching can support a manager in finding the optimal hybrid approach, or team coaching, allowing for the co-construction of this approach with the members of the team
  • Employees, to find a healthy balance between their personal needs and those of the company, between their private life and their professional life, between their psychological and physical health: webinars, information sheets and other good practices can help all employees, and to go further, some can benefit from occasional support in the form of a coaching or well-being approach.

Nathalie Ducray, Consultant and Coach in management and leadership

To find out more about how to TOOL and SUPPORT your organisation towards hybrid, contact us!

Deskare to equip your organisation with the solution

Nathalie Ducray to support the human aspect of the organisation, managers and teams

*some additional data

94% of employers felt in September 2020 that productivity had increased during the transition to remote work - Source: Mercer, 2021

60% of employees feel less distracted by colleagues when remote work - Source: Capterra, 2021

69% Prefers face-to-face collaboration between colleagues - Source: Capterra 2021

49% Find the work/life balance better when remote work - Source: Capterra, 2021

1/3 of workers feel that the lack of physical separation between work and home is detrimental to their well-being - Source: Microsoft, 2021