Tag Archives: organizational culture

Does hybrid work actually work?

Whether hybrid teams can succeed is the question of the moment but it is not a new one.  Flexible Work Solutions got its name in back 2005 because we were helping companies establish remote, hybrid, and other flexible work arrangements.  People today are saying it’s impossible to make hybrid work, but we have been in the business for a long time, and we have seen both successes and failures. 

One example of a failure was at a district attorney’s office.  It wasn’t because it was a government organization.  It was because it was so highly politicized.  People had to be physically visible and there were numerous “meetings before the meetings” conversations where the decisions were actually made.  People who worked remotely lost out on those opportunities and eventually realized they had to come into the office if they wanted to succeed.

An example of a success was at a tech company that built networking equipment and “practiced what they preached” by putting it to good use internally.  It wasn’t just that they had the technology to make it work; they had also mastered the hybrid culture.  Managers let people know when it was important to come to the office—even travel to the office by airplane at times.  Team members made sure to include people in side conversations and in meetings no matter where they were located.   

Here’s the bottom line.  Hybrid can work if the individuals on the team, the manager, and the organization are all committed to making it work.  When you have a gap at any one of those levels, problems tend to surface.  For example, the organization needs to provide the infrastructure to support hybrid work; the manager has to make sure remote employees are as visible as in-person ones; team members have to find ways to include each other in casual conversations and decisions that happen outside of formal meetings.  It sounds complicated and there is much more to it, but if you embed hybrid work practices into your working culture, you can make it work.

If you are wondering whether your organization is ready to support hybrid teams, download our short Hybrid Readiness Assessment and answer the questions.  If you don’t know the answers or are not satisfied with them, bring the assessment to others on your team to start the discussion.

To see some of our research on remote and hybrid work, click here.

Overcoming the Challenges of Long-Term Remote Work

Are you starting to see the long-term effects of remote work?  From what I’ve seen, some organizations are achieving great results, some adapted well at first and are now running into challenges, and others are struggling.  This is not surprising.  I conducted several research studies* many years back on what is necessary for remote work to be successful and three components are necessary: the right job, the right person, and the right organization. 

Job

Some jobs are easily done remotely, like coding, writing, and marketing.  As we’ve discovered over the past few months, other jobs simply cannot be done remotely, like food delivery, emergency response, lab work, and hair styling. Some industries, however, have made very creative adaptations to enable remote work during COVID-19, like gyms providing video classes, judges conducting telephonic hearings, and schools providing online learning.  If people are struggling working remotely in your organization because of the job requirements or structure, there may be ways to change that to make them more successful.

Person

Because of COVID-19, we’ve had to move people en masse to remote work without consideration to whether they are suited to it.  Certain personality characteristics correspond to success at remote work, both due to the person’s satisfaction with doing it as well as their manager’s satisfaction with their performance.  For example, a highly extraverted person may feel lonely and isolated at home while a highly introverted person may not communicate enough.  For those who are miserable working from home or who are not productive or collaborating effectively, it may be worth finding ways for them to come into work at least in a limited way.

Organization

Certain characteristics of the organization help and hinder remote work.  The culture and infrastructure are the two most important factors.  Many organizations are overcoming the IT aspect of the infrastructure, but other systems, processes, and cultural norms may need addressing.  For example, hierarchical, highly centralized organizations fare worse with remote work.  Organizations with a lot of community and friendship may suffer going remote if systems aren’t put in place for people to keep in touch.  I’ve seen this start to become a problem for a number of organizations.

If you’d like to talk about how to solve any of these long-term remote work challenges, please set up a call with me.  I’ve been consulting with organizations on leading remote teams for twenty years and have a pretty good handle on how to help.

*Research Studies:

Connell, J. B., Sorenson, R. C., Robinson, K., L., & Johnson, S. T.  (2004).  The Birth of a Telecommuter Selection Instrument: Results of a Validation Study.  Proceedings of the International Telework Academy 9th International Telework Workshop, (Crete, Greece: September 6 – 9, 2004).

Connell, J. B., Sorenson, R. C., Robinson, K., L., & Ellis, S. J.  (2003).  Identifying successful telecommuters.  Proceedings from the International Association for Development of the Information Society International Conference:  WWW/Internet 2003, (Algarve, Portugal: November 5 – 8, 2003).

Sorenson, R. C., Robinson, Connell, J. B., K., L., & Ellis, S. J.  (2003).  Factors affecting the success of telework:  A collection of case studies.  Proceedings from the International Conference on Advances in the Internet, Processing, Systems, and Interdisciplinary Research, (Sveti Stefan, Montenegro: October 4 – 11, 2003).

Listen to a REAL Musician Talk about Being an Entrepreneur

REAL Musician as an EntrepreneurJoanie Connell hosts a Women Lead Radio interview with Natasha Kozaily, owner of Kalabash School of Music + the Arts.  Not only does Natasha own the music and arts school, she also sings in a band and raises money for the International Rescue Committee, among other things.

Joanie asks Natasha about how she brings creativity to entrepreneurship.  She says to her employees and students, “this is a place to dream.”  Listen here.

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REAL Life Learning and Development

Joanie Connell hosts a Women Lead Radio interview with Tamar Elkeles, Chief Talent Executive at Atlantic Bridge Capital.  She’s also been the Chief People Officer for a Silicon Valley start-up and was the Chief Learning Officer at Qualcomm before that.

Joanie asks Tamar to share her wisdom from her years of experience teaching and developing executives.  “Life is in beta,” she says.  “Launch and learn.”  Listen here.

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Job Fit Can Make Your Dream Come True

happy manI’ve been interviewed on several “how to find your dream career” podcasts lately and thought I’d share the advice I keep giving on these shows.

Yes, of course, it’s good to find a career that aligns with your interests, but that won’t ensure satisfaction. A statistics professor once told me how miserable he was in his career. He loved statistics but disliked being a professor. He was an extreme introvert who was dreadfully uncomfortable lecturing and interacting with students. He had felt he should become a professor to be a respectable professional. Continue reading Job Fit Can Make Your Dream Come True