Here is why hybrid work will continue to thrive as return-to-office gets backed by leadership
Workplace
September 29, 2022
4
min read

Here is why hybrid work will continue to thrive as return-to-office gets backed by leadership

Rudi Bauer
Rudi Bauer
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One-size-fits-all solutions aren’t highly applicable in every organization.

Even though companies were planning for employees to return to the office as soon as everyday life normalizes, the situation in the field says something completely different.

After more than 18 months of working from home, returning to the office seems challenging for employees worldwide.

First, during the pandemic, we have learned to appreciate the ability to govern our time. Splitting tasks and getting things done according to deadlines instead of timesheets gave us more time to spend with our families, relatives, and friends. Simply enjoying our suddenly given opportunity to obtain a work-life balance.

In short, employees reexamined their relationship with work, simultaneously affecting their expectations.

Recently revealed Microsoft Work Trend Index report states that return-to-office can be done under certain circumstances, and a personal choice mainly drives it.

Hybrid work is still greeted with positivism by employees

Remote work brought rapid digitization to our society and the ability to organize our time as employees better.

Hybrid work success couldn’t be achieved without a strong understanding from leadership to embrace and guide the remote working environment towards productivity and efficiency.

Here are just a couple of hybrid work employees’ favorites: establishing online repositories for IT teams to provide easy access to all ongoing tasks or fine-tuning teamwork in different time zones under the steady hand of remote work managers.

Our latest survey, #Wanted and #Misunderstood, prooves positivism towards hybrid work, where 69% of participants say that they are happy with how their managers lead tech teams remotely.

Hybrid work continues to thrive, as return-to-office gets backed by leadership

As a post-pandemic outcome, most software engineers fully embrace hybrid work, but at the same time, they crave in-person connection. The same survey reveals that 48% of participants see interaction with colleagues as the greatest benefit when returning to office. Daily commute loss of time or simply leaving home isn’t perceived as beneficial to software engineers.

‘Hybrid paradox,’ a term recently coined by Microsoft leadership, explains that employees want more flexibility to work from anywhere while craving more personal contact.

We favor the dominant opinion that return-to-office should be a personal choice instead a direction by the company leadership. But if it prevails, companies have to be very careful while modeling flexibility requests on all levels, especially from software engineers.

Return-to-office demands careful planning

There is no golden rule on how to do it, but there are certain things that leadership and  HR professionals should consider before the announcement.

4 things to consider

The worst-case scenario is to do nothing.

Those who are aware and treating the problem with urgency should know that the transition can bring feelings of stress and trepidations.

We advise you to pay attention to the following factors.

1) Essential role of management in a transitional process

After top management announces its intention to transition from hybrid to office work, team leaders must play a primary role in the process.

Our tip:

Dedicate time at the end of a weekly company meeting to discuss and navigate employees towards a smoother transition. Also, a good strategy could be encouraging employees to come to the office even before the official return date. Make them familiar with the almost forgotten environment in a relaxed atmosphere.

2) Humor reduces anxiety

Where there is a sudden change, there is also anxiety.

Our tip:
In a humorous tone, suggest your employees refresh their wardrobe. It also gives a palpable sense of a turning new page situation. It will make them comfortable, relaxed, and finally, accept the transitional process more easily.

Hybrid work continues to thrive, as return-to-office gets backed by leadership

3) Attention to commuters

You will probably experience a lot of resistance and resentment from daily commuters.Instead of rushing them back into the daily commute, suggest they come to the office once or twice a week.

Our tip:

Use an internal memo to let your employees know they can come to the office when they believe they will benefit from productiveness while meeting their colleagues (i.e., during brainstorming sessions or sprint planning).  

4) Return-to-office perks and challenges

Office life has its perks and challenges.

Seeing colleagues or finding a place where you can just focus on the job-related responsibilities is a positive thing, according to many surveys (including ours) seen as a positive thing.

Our tip:

Make your team leaders constantly aligned and help them to formulate the transitional process as a game rather than a terrifying snowball effect. Create and distribute an internal infographic or a short brochure.

Conclusion

In general, most team leads supports the concept of personal choice regarding work style.

The current post-pandemic trends are an opportunity for companies to design better workplaces and continue to pursue productivity growth while allowing employees to benefit from emerging workplace disruption.

If not doing so, the risk of losing employees has never been greater.

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