Leadership & "Productivity Paranoia" - Hybrid Working

“Through pandemic-enforced lockdowns, millions of knowledge workers have been able to do their jobs well from home. As Covid-19 restrictions have eased, bosses have begun to introduce their post-pandemic working structures. While some industries, like finance, have seen full-time return-to-office mandates, many sectors have landed on a hybrid [working] schedule.

This shift to hybrid working generally aligns with employee preferences. According to a June 2022 Gallup study of 8,090 remote-capable US employees, 60% want a long-term hybrid arrangement. ‘Employees no longer see flexibility as a perk but as a right,’ explains Alexia Cambon, director of research at consultancy firm Gartner’s HR practice, based in London. ‘Not everyone works well in a rigid system in which how, when and where you work is decided for you every day’” (Christian, 2022). 

Leadership & Hybrid Working

As a leader in the workplace in 2023, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to navigate hybrid working. Not only does this limit the normal ebb and flow of the workplace, but it also hinders the communal growth that can often happen through in-person collaboration. 

However, in order to gain new, young, and skilled employees, businesses are realizing that they must be offering hybrid as an option, otherwise they will miss out on these people. 

When leading through this next wave of work, consider the following ways in ensuring that your people feel supported, but also desire to remain invested in your company when it comes to their work, especially when you are not able to monitor.

  • Have tangible, manageable benchmarks and tasks for each employee – these should be specific and not general.
  • Communicate these often and consistently – never leave a gray space where employees are unsure of what you are wanting.
  • Regular check-ins are necessary and often critical to ensure that relationships are still being managed, even if not always face to face. 
  • Understand that your approach to hybrid is not only a leadership move in how you handle your employees, but it will also impact how you are able to lead your customers and clients. Are they also aware of the structure of your work place? 
  • Find ways to provide positive feedback to ensure that the culture is still growing even if that culture is through a screen.

Christian, A. (2022, October 19). The “productivity paranoia” managers can’t shake. BBC Worklife.