Friday Feb 03, 2023

Going Hybrid? 3 Risks To Prevent In Physical-Virtual Companies – Forbes


Like the lovely spring weather, return to office strategies are in full bloom, with companies like Microsoft and Google all encouraging their employees to make workdays in HQ part of their flexible schedules. The prediction that hybrid will be the workplace model of choice for the foreseeable future is now confirmed. 

As companies begin this return-to-office mass migration, many are beginning the hard work of adapting their operations to fit a hybrid workplace model, including policy building, infrastructure cleanup, and improving employee experience. In this best-of-both-worlds future of work, what could possibly go wrong?

There are three primary organizational dangers that business leaders should beware of if … [+] implementing a hybrid work model.


Because no two companies are mirror images in their operations, company cultures, or business objectives, in order to properly design a winning model for the future, organizations consider potential risks that may be exclusively unique to them, so they can go into hybrid working with eyes wide open and be strategic about their virtual organizational development plan.

Based on historical case studies that showcase the common mistakes of hybrid teams and expensive risks of flexibility policy retractions, there are three primary dangers that business leaders should beware of if implementing a hybrid work model: 

Risk 1: Proximity-Biased Management

Using messages like “return to work” instead of “return to office” may be the first sign that company leadership has a biased opinion about the loyalty of those that choose to continue working remotely, since the former phrase suggests that being back in a centralized workspace will resume productivity. That’s a dangerous opinion to have, since it ignores the two years of hard work (and, often, overwork) that employees have been producing in order to maintain business continuity during an unexpected, international crisis. It’s also an indication that management methods are still based on physical supervision, and haven’t been properly updated to measure off-site work as equally or accurately as on-site work. Over time, both of these habits can lead to the favoring of on-site employees, and discrimination of virtual workers, putting the company at risk for workforce attrition or legal action.  

To minimize the risk for proximity-biased management in your hybrid team, implement the following preventive measures: 

  • Performance Management — Design a framework that prioritizes the root word of “productivity” — to produce. In other words, value the output of workers over their presence in a certain location, since results can be submitted and equally measured from any location. 
  • Leadership Training — In many cases, micromanagement and proximity bias are just a result of the classic conundrum, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” After generations of managing teams in a centralized environment, the expectations of virtual leadership seem foreign to many supervisors. Luckily, there is a simple solution. Update your training and career development programs to include virtual leadership skills that help managers lead remote workers as effectively as they do on-site workers.  

Risk 2: Workplace Discrepancies

Working from anywhere may feel like a luxury for remote professionals, but often the variables of these workplace environments puts them at a disadvantage to their in-office counterparts. Consider measuring the performance of one employee who is in the office with a lightning-fast internet connection, professionally-cleaned office, and state of the art computer; in comparison to one …….


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