When businesses first sent their teams home last spring, employees were stressed — about job security, about childcare, about collaborative projects, the list goes on. As the remote work reality wore on, however, many people started to get comfortable — even enamored — with its benefits. They appreciated the non-existent commutes, comfortable loungewear, full-time kitchen access, and greater calendar control, not to mention the safety benefits during a global pandemic.
But few expected this new reality to last as long as it has. As we approached the final months of 2020, businesses needed to start making plans again. They needed to forecast facility and office real estate requirements. They needed to adjust for lack of peer connection and anticipate the long-term mental health issues isolation will undoubtedly trigger. They needed to reconsider career progression and knowledge sharing opportunities. They needed to stop reacting and start building a proactive strategy. Most of them didn’t know where to start.
We have long accepted that there’s no use waiting for a return to the old normal. We spent months waiting for a post-pandemic world, before realizing that there’s no such thing; that instead we need to be open minded and invested in together building a new pandemic-sensitive one. As vaccines are rolled out, the economy responds, and business analytics start to reveal the real impacts of the last year on productivity and employee well being, we can be sure that our ways of conducting business will continue to evolve.
At MRI, we believe a majority of businesses will adopt a hybrid model: one where remote work complements on-premise efforts and a distributed workforce bolsters an in-house team. This emerging model is far more complicated to execute than the quick, reactionary measures implemented last spring to keep people safe. It involves far more than decisions about cubicle sizes, flex space, security access, and renewed leases. It’s one that considers technology, collaboration, mental health, mentorship, and communication needs on equal footing to safety and logistics. And if you think that model is clearly defined, you’re wrong. We’re just getting started.
The next 12 to 24 months will be fluid and the ideal hybrid solution will be a moving target. While companies all over the world adopted unique workforce structures long before the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time our entire global economy is shifting at once — and there’s no textbook to teach us how to rebuild the World of Work.
That’s where our Hybrid Workforce Playbook comes in. Over the next several weeks, we will be providing an in-depth, step-by-step guide to help you reinvent your office structure and roll out your new normal effectively. We will be covering:
Part 1 | Reimagining mentorship and coaching in a hybrid office settingPart 2 | Hiring for new skill sets and priorities on your teamPart 3 | Building an effective return-to-work strategy (coming soon)Part 4 | Adapting the role of communications to the new World of Work (coming soon)
All four parts are equally critical to your success in the new World of