Hybrid Work Plans Could Bring New Challenges

As employers solidify plans to bring workers back into the office while still allowing them to do some remote work, many are finding that adjusting to this new normal won’t be easy.

1. Rethinking schedules.

Hybrid work “is going to redefine expectations, rules, permissions,” says Kevin McCarty, chief executive officer of the Chicago-based consulting firm West Monroe, which employs 1,360 people, and is rethinking when its employees should work at home or come into its offices. Meanwhile, insurer Prudential Financial Inc., which expects most of its roughly 42,000 employees to work in the office half the time starting after Labor Day, wants to make certain not all staffers choose to stay home Mondays and Fridays and then work in the office midweek.

2. Keeping collaboration alive.

Companies are also having to rethink space in their offices so employees there will feel comfortable interacting in person, and those at home will feel included in discussions. To that end, Prudential has been adding video capacity in smaller meeting spaces,  while


the travel company, plans to initially permit spaced group team meetings at its headquarters. It opened the first phases of an expansive campus—complete with Wi-Fi-equipped rocks—on the shores of Seattle’s Elliott Bay before the pandemic.

3. Making sure meetings work for everyone.

If a team comes together in-person, but not all can make it, that potentially creates a subpar experience for those not in the room, says Expedia chief executive

Peter Kern.

He says he has questions about whether those on Zoom will get the same level of learning, encouragement and career growth as those in the room. Managers may need to “set up group meetings according to some crazy algorithm of: Who’s available when? Who’s got a flexible day, when?” Kern says. “There’s a lot of friction in all of that. It’s a lot easier to say, ‘Everybody go to work.’ Now someone calls a meeting, and you’re all there.”

4. Rethinking employee performance assessment and training.

A new way of working will require the company to think differently about performance, Kern says. Managers must be careful not to have biased judgments against those who may spend less time in the office, requiring the company to be “really thoughtful about how we assess people and give people opportunity so that we don’t end up with skewed outcomes. Similarly, training and onboarding might be more challenging in a hybrid environment, says Tom Gimbel, CEO of LaSalle Network. With younger employees, “for them to learn anything, they need to be around the more experienced people,” he says.

Read the original article by Emily Glazer and Chip Cutter here.

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Read More:Hybrid Work Plans Could Bring New Challenges

2021-03-22 23:52:00

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