In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, the concept of hybrid and remote work has gained unprecedented momentum. As companies continue to adapt to the shifting needs and expectations of their employees, experts from various fields have come together to discuss the benefits, challenges, and future of this transformative way of working. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the insights of Iwo Szapar, Co-founder at Remote-First Institute and CEO at Remote-how, Grace Schmitt, Partner at Landid, Christianne Rozsa, Workplace Experience Manager at ISS A/S, Nicola Hemmings, Head of Workplace Psychology at Koa Health, and Dr. Oliver Harrison, CEO & Founder of Koa Health, to explore the opportunities and challenges for hybrid and remote work from their unique perspectives.
Benefits: Flexibility, Work-Life Balance, Health, Autonomy, Attracting Talent, and Adaptability
The experts agree on the benefits of hybrid and remote work, such as flexibility, improved work-life balance, increased employee productivity, and adaptability.
Iwo Szapar emphasizes that "the most important benefit of remote work is the flexibility that it offers to employees, which ultimately leads to a better work-life balance, improved productivity, and increased satisfaction."
Grace Schmitt highlights the importance of flexibility as a key benefit of hybrid and remote work, stating that "the ability to have more control over one's working hours and environment can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction."
Christianne Rozsa believes that "the biggest benefits of hybrid/remote work have been the promotion of a healthier work-life balance. The ability to be with your family more, whether it’s just running essential errands in between calls, being home for dinner on time or eliminating commute times and saving money on extended hours childcare, are all priceless byproducts of hybrid/remote work."
Nicola Hemmings adds that "the added flexibility means being better able to balance their personal and working lives and even move closer to support networks of friends and family. Cutting out commutes doesn't just save us money—it also gives us the time we need to make healthier choices around exercise and food."
Dr. Oliver Harrison points out that "workplace flexibility is one of the factors all business leaders must consider to ensure employee wellbeing and business success. In turn, flexibility creates two additional advantages—freedom of choice and adaptability for individual circumstances, which positively impact the health and happiness of employees."
Challenges: Management Change, Trust, Boundaries, Social Interaction, Inclusion, and Communication
Iwo Szapar identifies challenges such as the need for management change, lack of trust and transparency, and the importance of living company values daily. He notes, "The biggest challenge in remote work is not the technology, but the change in management mindset. We need a shift from control to trust, from measuring hours worked to measuring results."
Grace Schmitt and Christianne Rozsa both highlight issues like employee engagement, potential loss of productivity, and the lack of social interaction. Schmitt shares, "Some of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to remote work include maintaining employee engagement and productivity while also ensuring that employees are not feeling isolated and disconnected from their colleagues."
Christianne Rozsa states, "The biggest challenges I have observed are lack of social interaction and boundaries. As humans, we crave daily social interactions, and while a hybrid/remote schedule does allow a lot of flexibility, it can also be lonely at times."
Nicola Hemmings adds that "separating work life and home life, limited social cues, and ensuring inclusion and equality are significant challenges in hybrid and remote work. Having work equipment visible at home, such as work laptops and monitors, can make it harder to switch off and transition from our work roles as they act as visual reminders of the working day."
Dr. Oliver Harrison points out the challenges of connecting, communicating, and supporting each other in a fast-paced startup environment. He says, "When people aren't all working in the same place, these crucial actions require extra effort. Beyond equipping our team with the right tools, we've also built our ways of working into ‘rules of engagement’ that ensure that no one is left out (or left behind)."
Internal and External Expertise: Roles, Relationships, and the Future of Work
Christianne Rozsa sees her role as a Workplace Experience Manager as "ensuring every employee, whether they are remote or on-site, is well equipped with everything they need to succeed at their job and that they have a positive and professional experience with work." She envisions an expansion in this field, stating, "I do see this field expanding in the future and applaud companies who invest in their employees in this capacity."
Dr. Oliver Harrison shares his thoughts on the role of internal company experts on hybrid and remote work, including their relationship to external experts and resources. He says, "Our internal experts, such as Nicola Hemmings, occupational psychologist and Koa Health's Head of Workplace Psychology, continue to support our clients in building an organizational culture that prioritizes and supports employee mental health."
The Future of Hybrid and Remote Work
Iwo Szapar predicts that "remote work will become the new normal, as companies and employees alike recognize the benefits of flexibility, autonomy, and improved work-life balance."
Grace Schmitt believes that "companies will need to develop new strategies and policies that allow for a successful hybrid work environment, ensuring that employees are engaged, productive, and satisfied with their work."
Christianne Rozsa envisions that "most companies have adopted policies that require a minimum number of days employees should be on site. There are some fields where the job requires employees to come into the office to fulfill their responsibilities, but I think employers should be flexible where possible."
Nicola Hemmings emphasizes the importance of personalized support and flexibility, stating that "the best model is one that gives flexibility and personalized support. With employees increasingly seeking companies that prioritize their mental wellbeing, now is the time to invest in comprehensive, bespoke digital health solutions that deliver care across the full continuum of mental health, from everyday wellbeing to clinical treatment."
Dr. Oliver Harrison shares his vision for the future of hybrid and remote work at Koa Health, stating that "depending on their needs and preferences, employees can choose to work from home or grab a desk or a meeting room at a coworking space nearby—we also encourage our teams to get together in person on a regular basis when possible. Giving our talented workforce the autonomy and flexibility to work at the times and places that work best for them is a net positive for both individual and business health."
The future of work is undeniably shifting towards a more flexible and adaptable model, with hybrid and remote work becoming increasingly prevalent. As we've seen from the insights provided by Szapar, Schmitt, Rozsa, Hemmings, and Harrison, there are numerous benefits and challenges associated with these new work arrangements. By learning from their expert perspectives, organizations can make informed decisions to foster a healthy, productive, and supportive work environment that caters to the diverse needs of their employees.
Ultimately, the success of hybrid and remote work models will depend on companies' ability to adapt, innovate, and prioritize employee well-being. By embracing this new era of work, organizations have a unique opportunity to redefine work-life balance and create a workplace culture that not only attracts top talent but also ensures their employees thrive in the long term. As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape of work, collaboration and open dialogue among experts, employers, and employees will be key to unlocking the full potential of hybrid and remote work strategies.
Experts agree that hybrid and remote work offer benefits like flexibility and work-life balance, but challenges include management change and social interaction. The future of work is predicted to be remote-centric...>Click to tweet
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Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on March 09, 2023.
Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/newsletter/.