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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Three Reasons Hybrid Office Will Fail and Why

Hybrid work models are the best of both worlds. Hybrid work refers to employees returning to the office throughout the week. They may come in every Tuesday and Thursday, choosing to work Monday Wednesday Friday, and work from home Thursday and Friday. This is flexible and great. 

Like always, there is more to the story. For management, hybrid means they keep control because they see their workers face to face. For employees, the ability to work from home, at least, facilitates more freedom, happiness, and greater productivity. 

But there are problems arising from hybrid work environments. 

With 24 months of #WFH and #Hybrid work behind us, data is starting to trickle in revealing some interesting challenges with the practice. More than 80% of workers polled say that hybrid is ‘exhausting’ for employees, according to a TinyPulse survey report. 

Interesting word exhausting, let's dig deeper into three factors:

1. Mixed scheduling

2. Redundant 

3. Reduced Productivity

Chaotic Schedules- 
“I feel settled and focused on the days that I work from home,” says Klara. “But by the evening I dread having to go back in: sitting at my desk for eight hours a day in a noisy office, staring at a screen, readjusting to exactly how it was before Covid.” – account manager, hybrid since 9/21
Going back to the office every other day or two times a week is disruptive as employees are responsible for two workplaces. Transporting laptops, moving the technology, and carrying data, folders, and paperwork back and forth between locations increases an already stressful situation. For some, this is a normal procedure. Outside sales have been nimble and traveled light. But we’re talking about duplicating two office environments and a patchwork schedule. Not a good combination.

The elimination of a daily commute it's better when it's consistent versus every other day. 

Redundant technologies –

From ergonomic desk chairs, wireless mice, dual monitors, VPNs, 101 keyboards, microphones, speakers, headphones, and ring lights, hybrid demands two separate technology environments and two possible IT support locations. It is easier to deploy a technician to cubicles than it is to send one out to an employee’s household.

Cost is a factor, as are support and security. Hybrid doubles the risk and expense.

Reduced productivity –

Here’s the rub. 

The added pressures, redundant technology, remote support, and confusing and disjunct scheduling, contribute to higher stress levels and disorganization. These factors stress expected productivity from working from home. 

Why hybrid? 

The question now becomes why hybrid? 

From the employer's point of view, returning to the office is meeting staunch resistance. Some reports say that as many as 97% of the employees polled do not want to go back to the office full time. Indeed 60 to 80% of those polled said that if the company demanded a return to the office they would resign. 

A hybrid office environment is a compromise between 100% and no office exposure. This is a stopgap measure and one based on insecurity. The existing hierarchies of management recognize their irrelevancy in an environment that does not require employees to be in the same vicinity as management. In other words, why would I need managers when there are no employees in the office to manage?

I see a hybrid work environment as a non-committal proposition where both parties are waiting to see which way the new work will fall. On the side of 100% work from anywhere or 100% back to the cubes, back to the office, back to the plantation.

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