Hybrid work didn’t affect productivity – What about other challenges?

While many organizations have improved their productivity during the pandemic, some leaders are concerned about remote and hybrid working. That’s according to new research from PwC. The study surveyed 4,000 business and HR leaders in 26 countries and regions.

The majority of business leaders responding to a study say their organization has performed better against workforce performance and productivity targets over the past 12 months as a result of the adoption of remote and hybrid working.

However, gains in employee productivity and performance may have come at the expense of long-term employee trust.

When asked if their organization was building high levels of trust between workers and direct supervisors, only 30% of business and HR leaders surveyed replied that they were confident in their organization’s ability to build such trust. – PwC

Hybrid workers may also be confronted by challenges related to work-life balance according to the study. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the business and HR leaders surveyed say they are not fully confident that workload is manageable enough for employees to make full use of their personal time, and burnout may be partially responsible.

Technological advances have been met with a mixed response from workers because what skills are needed in the future is still unclear. Only one in four respondents are confident they can identify the skills they will require in the future.

“Now is the time for leaders to build an environment that supports sustainable productivity. People are integral to the tech equation – leaders need to engage with and listen to their people and be responsive to addressing employee burnout and the desire of people to work for organisations that live up to their purpose, values and culture. This is critical to retaining and motivating employees.”

– Peter Brown, Joint Global People and Organisation Leader, PwC UK

How to avoid the most common hybrid work problems?

In the past two years, we have made a radical change in the way we work, and more and more companies are seriously considering how they can make changes that will last.



Hybrid work environments aren’t a sudden fix for every business. In fact, they’re not a fix at all, but a way to enable employees to be more productive and feel more satisfied in their jobs.

The key is making sure the structure fits the work being done and that managers and workers understand how it will work. That means employees have to understand why the company is moving to a hybrid space, who has immediate responsibility for them, and what they can expect from their manager.

If you implement a hybrid working arrangement without giving it much thought, you can end up with serious communication and collaboration problems. One of the main appeals of hybrid working is the balance between autonomy and collaboration.

Within hybrid teams – those with people working from home as well as those at the office – disagreements and tension can develop. This can lead to a fractured team and an ‘us and them mentality.

Listening to workers is crucial to making sure the hybrid environment functions properly. Holding one-on-one conversations, conducting focus groups, and using HR surveys to solicit feedback is among several methods for satisfying this need.

Employee incentives can also help develop a supportive culture that increases employee commitment.
When people feel appreciated for their hard work, they are more likely to be committed to the organization.

Researcher Marcial Losada has found that among high-performing teams, the expression of positive feedback outweighs that of negative feedback by a ratio of 5.6 to 1. By contrast, low-performing teams have a ratio of .36 to 1.

Takeaway: You can adapt to hybrid work by adapting your attitude

Melanie Collins, the chief people officer at Dropbox, wrote a case study about how the company changed its operations as a result of the pandemic. Before the shift to 100% remote work, only 3% of employees worked at home.

To establish new rules of the road, the Dropbox team took the engineering product lifecycle data, company and financial goals and employee engagement data into consideration.

Based on the data and discussions, Dropbox leaders laid out five guiding principles:

1️⃣ Support the company mission: to design a more enlightened way of working

2️⃣ Provide flexibility and freedom for employees

3️⃣  Preserve human connection while maintaining a level playing field

4️⃣  Support long-term business health

5️⃣  Maintain a learning mindset by being flexible and adaptive

Experts in behavior modification understand that incorporating new habits takes time, especially among large groups of people. As we learn to work virtually, we’re bound to mess up every now and again. Give yourself and your teammate’s permission to make mistakes, so you can learn from them.



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